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Orioi/ial it rc^Vf?^suTt cfj 7r/ 'itstz.: S^^.r^z'-JrurtrnTrc-t^t' 

J. T T? 1? 

N|i i '^' : 'r V 



^^-1 (nC 

Kntered acoordlog to Act of Congrees, in the year 18SJS 

Br G. P. PUTNAM As 00., 

in the Clerk's Office </ttieDiatrict Coon of Uie United Statee fortheSoothen 

Dletriot of New York. 



J<MS F. Taov, 

PriaUr, SUrcotjper, and EtodrolTpM, 

S11 * tif BnMdwiy, 

Cor. ?rUU BtiMt, If tw Toik. 


The following work has long been announced as forthcom- 
ing, to the great annoyance of the author. It was, indeed, 
commenced several years since, but the prosecution of it 
has been repeatedly interrupted by other occupations, by 
a long absence in Europe, and by occasional derangement 
of health. It is only within the last two or three years 
that I have been able to apply myself to it steadily. 
This is stated to account for the delay in its publication. 
The present volume treats of the earlier part of 
Washington's life previous to the war of the Revolution, 
giving his expeditions into the wilderness, his campaigns 
on the frontier in the old French war; and the other 
** experiences,'* by which his chayftpter wap formed, and 



he was gradually trained up and prepared for his great 

Though a biography, and of course admitting of fa- 
miliar anecdote, excursive digressions, and a flexible 
texture of narrative, yet, for the most part, it is essen- 
tially historic. Washington, in fiswt, had very little pri- 
vate life, but was eminently a public character. All his 
actions and concerns almost from boyhood were connected 
with the history of his country. In writing his biography, 
therefore, I am obliged to take glances over collateral 
history, as seen from his point of view and influencing 
his plans, and to narrate distant transactions apparently 
disconnected with his concerns, but eventually bearing 
upon the- great drama in which he was the principal actor. 

I have endeavored to execute my task with candor 
and fidelity; stating foots on what appeared to be good 
authority, and avoiding as much as possible all false 
coloring and exaggeration. My work is founded on the 
correspondence of Washington, which, in fact, aflfords the 
amplest and surest groundwork for his biography. This 
I have consulted as it exists in manuscript in the archives 
of the Department of State, to which I have had full and 
frequent access. I have also made frequent use of ^^ Wash- 
ington's Writings,'^ as published by Mr. Sparks ; a careful 


ooDBtion of many of tliem with the originals having con- 
vinced me of the general correctness of the collection, and 
of the safety with which it may be relied npon for his- 
torical purposes ; and I am happy to bear this testimony 
to the essential accuracy of one whom I considei among 
the greatest bene&ctors to our national literature ; and 
to whose writings and researches I acknowledge myself 
largely indebted throughout my work. 


SuNHTsmE, 1855. 


GeoMlogj of tb6 Wftahlngton Famflj 1 


The Home of VMhingtonli boyhood— His Karl j Edaoattoa— Lawrenoo WMhlngton 
ftod his CunpaJgn in the West Indies— Death of Waahington'e Father— The 
widowed Mother and her Ohildren— School BzerdMS 18 


Paternal Oondnct of an Elder Brother— The Fairlkx FamUj— Waahington'e Code of 
Morals and Mannere— Soldiers* Tales— Their Inflnenoe— Washington prepares fbr 
the Navy— A. Mother's Objections— Betnm to School— Studies and Exercises— A 
School-boy Passion— The Lowland Beanty— Love Ditties at Mount Vernon- Visit 
to BelToir— Lord Falrfkz— His Charsoter— Fox-hunting a Bemedy tot Loye — 
Proposition for a Surveying Expedition. S5 


B3q>edltIon beyond the Blue Ridge— The Valley of the Shenandoah— Lord Halifkx— 
Lodge in the Wilderness— Surveying— Life in the Backwoods— Indians— War 
Dance — Qennan Settlers— Return Home— Washington as Public Surveyor— Sqfonm 
at Oreenway Court— Horses, Hounds, and Books— Rugged Experience among the 
Mountains 86 


English and French Claims to the Ohio Valley— Wild State of the Country— Pn^eots at 
Settlements— The Ohio Company— Enlightened views of Lawrenoe Washington— 

Vol. I.— a* 


Freneh BiTttay— Oetoron de BtenTllle— His SIgni of Oooapcttoii-^Qgh Otawibid 
— George Crogban, * Tetenm Trader, and Montour, his Interpretor^Thelr Mission 
ttom Penasylyanla to the Ohio Tribes— Christopher Oist, the Pioneer of the Yad- 
kin— Agent of the Ohio Company— His Expedition to the Frontier— Reprobate 
Traders at Logstown— Negotiations with the Indians— Scenes In the Ohio Country 
—Diplomacy at Piqua^Kegs of Brandy and Bolls of Tobacco— Gist's retom across 
Kentucky- A Deserted Home— French Scheme— Captain Joncaire, a Diplomat of 
the Wilderness— His Speech at Logstown— The Indians' Land — ** Where V* 48 


Preparations for Hostilities— Washington appointed Distiiet Adjutant-general— Monnt 
Yemon a School of Arms— Adjutant Muse a yeteran Campaigner— Jacob Yan 
Braam a Master of Fence— Dl health of Washington's brother Lawrence— Yoyage 
with him to the West Indies— Scenes at Barbadoet— Tropical Fruits— Beef-steak 
and Tripe Ctab— Betnm home of Washington— Death of lAwrenoe 68 


OoQndl of the Ohio Tribes at Logstown— Treaty with the English— Gist's Settlement— 
Speeches of the BalMdng and the Frendi Commandant— French AggresBl<nis— 
The Eulns of Piqn*— Weshington sent on a Mission to the French Commander — 
Jacob Yan Braam, his Interpreter— Christopber Gist, his Guide— Halt at the oon- 
flnence of tho Monoogahela and Allegany— Prqjected Fort— Sbinglss, a Delaware 
Sachem— Logstown— The Half-king- Indian Councils— Indian Diplomacy— Bn- 
mors concerning Jonoaire— Indian Escorts— The Half-king, Jeskakake, and White 
Thunder. M 


Arrival at Yenango— Captain Joncalre- Frontier BcTelry- Discussions over the Bottle 
—The old Diplomatist and the young— The Half-king, Jeskakake, and White Thun- 
der staggered— The Speech-belt— Departure— La Force, the wily Commissary- 
Fort at French Creek— The Chevalier Legardeur de St Pierre, Knight of St Louis 
— Captain Keparti— Transactions at the Fort— Attempts to seduce the Sachems — 
Mischief brewing on the Frontier— DiflSculties and Delays in Parting— Descent of 
French Creek— Arrival at Yenango.. 74 


Betum from Yenango— A Tramp on Foot— Murdering Town— The Indian Guide— 
Treachery— An Anxious Night— Perils on the Allegany Btver—i^een Aliqulppa— 
The old Watch-coat— Betum aoron the Blue Ridge. 


Beply of the Cbevidler de St Pierre— Trent'a Mission to the Frontier— Wasbingtoa n^ 
emits l'roop»— Dinwiddle and the House of Burgesses— Independent Conduot ct 


ttwVlggiidMM>-ihpedteiititegito P 6< n ilto J aeob Via Briam ta 8 w vlt> T iil» 
ftil DMreh to Wflto' Oeek— Oontraeosar at the Fork of tiie Ohio— Tr«Bt^ NftMtacy 
Troops 99 


Maroh to the Little Meadows— Bamon from the Ohio— Correqxmdenoe from the banks 
of the Yoogfaiogeny— Attempt to deeoeod that Birer— Alarming Beporta— Scooting 
Partiea— Perilons situation of the Camp— Olat and La Force— Message from the 
HalMdng— French Trades— The Jnmonyille Skirmish— Treatment of Ia F or c e 
Position at the Great Meadows— BelligereDt Feelings of a yoong Soldier 101 


Beardty In the Gamp— Death of Oolonel Fry— Promotions— Maokaj snd his Lide* 
pendent Company- Mi^or Mnse— Indian Ceremonials— PabUc Prayers In Gami^- 
Alarma— Independence <^ an Independent Company— AflUrs at the Oreat Meadows 
—Desertion of the Indian AlMes— Capitulation of Fort Necessity- Van Braam as 
aa Interpreter— Indian Plnnderers— Betnm to WllUamaborg— Yoto of Thadks of 
tb« House of Burgesses— Sabseqnent Fortones of the Half-king— Oonoments on the 
AfBdrof JamonvUleandthe Conduct of Van Braam. 118 


Founding of Fort Camberkiid— Secret Letter of Stobo— The Indian Me sae ngc g P wi^ecl 
of Dinwiddle— His Perplexities— A Taint of Bepnbllcanlam in the Colonial Assem- 
blies— Dinwiddle's Military Measares— Washington qolts the Service-Orertoresof 
Qoyemor Sharpe, of Maryland— Washington's dignified Beply— Qoestions of Bank 
between Boyal and Provincial Troops— Treatment of the French Prisoners— Fate 
of La Force— Anecdotes of Stobo and Yan Braam 128 


to quiet lif^— French «nd English prepare for Hostilities— Plan of a Campaign 
— Oeneral Braddock— His Character— Sir John St Clair Quartermaster-general- 
His Tour of Inspection— Projected Boads— Arrirsl of Braddock— Military Consul- 
tations and Plans— Commodore Keppel and his Seamen— Ships and Troops at 
Alexandria— Excitement of Washington - Invited to Jdn the Staff of Braddock— A 
Mother's Ol^ections— Wsshlngton at Alexandria— Orand Council of Governors— 
Military Arrangements— Colonel William Johnson— Sir John St CUlr at Fort 
Cumborlaad— His Explosions of Wrath— Their ElTects— Indians to be enlisted- 
Captain Jack and his Band of Bush-beaterB 186 


WMbiogtoB proclaimed Aide-de-camp— Disappointments at Frederick town— Benjamin 
FnuikUn and Braddoek— Contracts— Departure for WIUV Creek -Bongh Eoads- 
Tbo General in his Chariot— Camp at Fort Cumberland— Hugh Mcrcei^-Dr. Oraik 



^Militaiy Tiotto»-Cunp Bales— Saereteij Peton— Indims in Ounp— ladisa 
BeMiti«e— >Tbe PrlnoeH Bright Ughtnlog— Emnd to 'WIlUftmtbiu9--Bniddook'8 
Opinion of GontiMston and lQdiai»---AiTiTal of OanTeyaiioefl 161 


ICarch from Fort OnmberUud-— The Greet SaTage Mountain— Oamp at the little Mea^ 
dowa— Divleioa of the Forees— Captain Jack and his Band— Soarooyadl in Danger 
— lUneee of Waahington— His Halt at the Yoogbiogeny— Mardh of Braddook— The 
Oicat Meadows— Lurking Enemiea— Their Tradka— Precantlona— Thloketty Bnn 
—Seonta— Indian Mnrden— Funeral of an Indian Wazrior— Oamp on the Mononga- 
hela— Waahington'a Arrival ther»— March for Fort Duqueene— The |prding of the 
Monongahelar-The Battlo— The Betreat— Death of Braddook 168 


Arrival at Fort Cumberland— Letters of Washington to his Family— Panic of Dunbar— 
FortuneaofDr. Hugh Meroer— Triumph of theFrenoh 186 


Costs of Campaigning— Measures for Publlo Safety— Washington In Command— Head- 
quarters at Winchester— Lord Fair&x and his Troop of Horse— Indian Bayagee— 
Panto at WlDchester— Cause of the Alarm— Operations elsewhere— Shirley against 
Niagara— Johnson against Crown Point— AflUr at Lake Qooxge— Death of Dleskan, 190 


Boform in the Militia Laws— Discipline of the Troops— Dagworthy and the Queation of 
Precedence— Washington's Journey to Boston— Style of Tiuvelllng— Conference 
with Shiriey— The Earl of Loudoun— Military Bule for the Colonies— Washington 
at New York-Miss Mary PhlUpse 206 


Troublea in the Shenandoah Valley— Greenway Court and Lord Fairfks in Danger- 
Alarms at Winchester— Waahlngton appealed to for Protection- Attacked by the 
YlrglDia Press— Honored by. the Publlo— Prqjeots for Defence— Suggestions of 
Washington— The Gentlemen Assodators— Betreat of the Savages— Expeditlun 
against Klttanning— Captain Hugh Meroer— Second Struggle through the Wilder- 
neas 218 


Founding of Fort Loudoun— Waahington'a Tour of InqMOticm— Inefficiency of the 
Militia System— Gentlemen Soldlera— CroM-purpoees with Dinwiddle— Military 
AfAdrs in the North— Delays of Lord Loudoun — Activity of Montcalm— Loudoun 
in Winter Quarters. 22i 




Waahlngton TlndleatM hfts Condaot to Lord Loadonn— His Boeoptkm bj bis Lordsbip 
— MiUtarj Flans— |iOrd Loodoan at Halifta— Montoalm on Lake George— His Trl- 
ompbs— Lord Loadonn's Failares— Wsshlngton at Winohester — Continned Mlson- 
dentandings with Dinwiddle— Betom to Mount Yernon. 889 


Washington reoorext his Health— Again in Oommand at Fort Londoon— AdmlnSstra- 
tlon of Pitt— Londonn saooeeded by 0«ieral Abererombie— Military Airangtmanta 
—Washington Commander-ln-ohi«rof the Yliginla Fore e a A mhewt against Loids- 
borg— Oeoaral Wolfe— Montgomery— Capture of Loolsbnxg— Aberorombte on Lake 
George— Death of Lord Howe— Bepnise of Aberoxombio— Socoeas of Bradstreet at 
Oewego 840 


Slow Operatione— Washington orders oat the Militia— Mission to Wllliamsbarg— Halt 
at Mr. ChamberlajmeV-Mrs. Martha Cnstis— A brief Coortshlp— An Engagement 
— Betom to Wincfaeeter— The Bifle Dress— Indian Sconts— Washington eleoted to 
the House of Borgeeees— Tidings of Amherst's Saooess— The new Bead to Fort Da- 
qaesne— March for the Fort— Indiscreet Oondaet of M^or Grant— Disastroos Con- 
seqaences— Wssliington adranoes against Fort Daqaesne— End of the Expedition 
—Washington retoma Homa— His Marxlsge 951 


Plan of Operations for 1759— Inyestment of Fort ISHagara— Death of Prideanx— Boooees 
of Sir William Johnson— Amherst at Tioonderoga— WoUb at Qoebeo— Hla Trl- 
nmph and Death— Fate of Montcalm— Capitalatlon of Qoebeo— Attempt of De Levi 
to retake it— Airiyal of a Brilteh Fleet— I^stttand of the Fx«ndi at Montreal— 
Sorrender of Canada 865 


Washington's Installation in the Hoose of B nig es a e a H is Boral lifo— Meant Yeraoa 
and Its Yldnitj— Ailstocnttlcal days of Ylrglnia— Washlngfam'to Mansgement of his 
Es t a te D omestto Habits— Foz-hontlng— Lord Falxftx— Fishing and Dnck-shoot- 
inff— The Poacher— I^neh Law— Aqoatio Stata— Ilfo at Annapotta— Washington 
in the Dismal Swamp 889 


Trea^ of Peace— Pcotlao'k War— Coorse of PabUc Brenta— Board of Trade agsinit 
PsiMT Oanen47— BestrlctiTe Poli<7 of England— Navigation Laws— Dlaoonteots tn 
Hew Bm^and-Of the othe/ Colonlea— Prqjeets to raisa Berenoe by TkoatkB— 
Blow at the Independence of the Jodidary— Nanl Commandect employed ai 



Onatom-hoiue (MBoen— Betallatioii ef the Oolonlsts— Tftxatloii realstad tn Boston 
— PMBlng of the Stamp Aotr-Bont of Oppoeitioii In Yiiglnia— Speech of Patrick 
Henry. 997 


Washington^ Ideas conoarning the Stamp Act—Opposition to it in the Colonies— Por- 
tentons Geremonles at Boston and Hew TorliL— Mon-importation Agreement among 
the MerohantB— Washington and George Mason— Dismissal of Grenville ft-om the 
British Oihinet— FranlcHn before the Honse of Oommons— Bepeal of the Stamp 
Aet— Joj of Washington— fresh Caoses of Oolonial Dissensions— drcnlar of the 
General Court of Msisaohusette— EmbarJLation of Troops for Boston— Measores of 



Cbeerftd Ufo at Moont Yemon— Washington and George Mason— Oorroepondenoe eon- 
oeming the 29on-importation Agreement— Feeling toward England— Opening of 
the Legtalatiye Session— Semi-regal State of Lord Betetoortr-Hlgh-toned Proceed- 
ings of the Honse Sympathy with New England— DissolTed by Lord Botetoort— 
Washington and the Articles of AasooUtlon 817 


Hood at Boston— The General Court rsAises to do Bnsinees onder Mflttsry Swqr— Be- 
alsts the Billeting Actr-Effect of the Non-importation AsKMiation— Lord North 
piemier— Duties reyoked except on Tea— The Boston Massscre— Disoie of Te*<- 
OondUatoty Conduct of Lord Botetonrt— His Death 880 


Bzpeditton of Washington to the Ohio, in behalf of Soldiers* Ghdm^-Uneaqr State of 
the Frontier— Visit to Fort Pitt— George Croghan— His Mishaps during Pontlao^ 
War^Washington descends the Ohio— Scones and AdTentnres along the Bivec^ 
Indian Hunting Camp— Interriew with an old Sachem at the Mouth of the Ken»- 
whar-Botumr— Claims ofStdbo and Van Biiam— Letter to Colonel Geoige Muse.. 880 


Lord Dunmore GoTcmor of Virginia— Piques the Pride of the Virginians— Opposition 
of the Assembly— Corresponding Commltteee-Death of Miss Onstis— WseUng- 
ton's Guardianship of John Parke Costis— His Opinions ss to PMBsature Tra?el 
and Premature Marriage. ». 889 


Lort Nbrtti^ Bin fttforing ttie EzportafloiL of Tess-Shlpsfrei^tedwithTestotbe 
Coloiik»-8eBt btek from sons of ths Porto— Tes destroyed at Boston— Passage of 


fc»BoihmP«tgtn 8MilonoftbeH«iui>rfBMgM8M BplmdidOp«ilng-Bawt 
«r lodlgnation at Um Port BiQ— Hoom Disaolyad— BesolationB at th« Bal«igh 
Tayern— Project of a Oenenl Con g rea s -Waahlngton and Lord Donmoro— The . 
Port BOl goee into Effects-General Gage at Boston— Leagne and Coyenant MA 


WaaUnftoB Chairman of a PoUtieal Meeting— Coixwpondenoe with Bryan Falrtkz— 
Patriotic Seeolntions— Waahlngton^ OpinioBa on PobUo AllUxa— Non-importatkm 
Bcheme— Conyontion at WiUiamsbaxg— Washington appointed a Delegate to the 
General Gongreae— Letter from Brjan Falifkx— Perplexitiea of Chneral Gage at 
Boston 8M 


ICeetlag of the Ftnk Oon g ress Opening Ceremonies— Eloqaenoe of PaMek Heaij and 
Homy Ls^-Dedaimtory Besolntloii— BiU of Bigfata-Stato Pspsti Chstham^ 
Opinions of Congress— Washington'* Corre^ondenoe «rith Capt. Maokenzt*— Yiews 
with respect to Independence— Departure of Faizikx for England I 


6i^^ MlUtaiy Measores— Bemoy al of Gunpowder ttom the AxBenal— Publio Agitation 
— Alarms in the Country— Ciyll Goyemment obstructed- Belligerent Bymptoma 
^Isnel Putnam and Ctoneral Charles Le^ their Charactsn and Stories— General 
Sledlon— Sd^oonetltnted Congress— Hancock President— Adjourns to Concord— 
Bemonstrance to Gsge— His Perplexities— Generab Artemas Ward and Seth P<nii- 
arqj— Committee of Safbtj— Conunlttee of Supplies— Bestlessness throngfaomt the 
Land— Independent Companies In Yliginla— Militsry Tone at Mount Yemon-* 
Washingttm's Military Gnes ta - M^ or Horatio Gstes Anecdotes concerning him— 
General Charles Lee— His Peculiarities and Dogs— Wsshington at the Blchmond 
Conyention— War Speech of Patrick Henry— WasUngton's MHitaiy Intentions.. . 874 


la fl rt nitton In BiMsh Councils— Ooknel Grant, the Bmggnt— OoeraiTt Measures— Ex- 
pediUon against the Military Msgazine at Concord^Battle of Lesington— The Ckj 
of Blood through the Land-Old SokUera of the French War-John Stsik— Israel 
Putnam— Blslng of the Yeomanry- Measures of Lord Dunmore In Ylrginla— In- 
dignation of flie Yliginians— Hugh Mercer and the Friends of libetty— Arriyal of 
the Newa of T«eTingtcn at Mount Yemon— Effect on Bryan Falrfkz» Gates^ and 
Wsshington « 888 


XnUsting of Troops in the East— Camp at Boston— General Artemas Ward— Bcheme to 
ivpdse Tloonderog»— JTew Hampshire Grsnta— Ethan Allen and the Green Moun* 


tain Boys— Baoediet Arnold— AfBdr ofTloonderogft And Grown Point— A Dash at 
St John'a. 401 


Becond Sesaion of Oon gr eaa J ohn Hancock— Petition to the King— Federal Union— 
MiUtarf Meaaarea— Debatea abont the Annj— Qaeetion aa to Oommander-in-chief 
—Appointment of Waahington— Other Appointmenta— Letteia of Washington to 
his Wife and Brother— Preparationa for I>cj[>artore.. 408 


More Troopa airiye at Boatoa— Oenerala Howe, Bnrgoyne, and CUnton— Proclamation 
of Gage— Katore of the American Army— Scorofhl Gondoot of the British Offloeca 
—Project of the Americana to aehte upon Breed*a HiU— Potnam^ opinion of it- 
Sanctioned bj Preaoott— Nocturnal March of the Detachment— FortUying of Bmi- 
ker'aHill— Break of Diqr, and Astonishment of the Bnemj 418 

Battle of Banker'^ Hill 4M 


Departure fWMn Philadelphia— Anecdotea of General Schnjier-of Lee— Tidings of 
Banker's Hm— Military Goondls— Popolalion of New York— The Johnaon Famflj 
—Governor Tryon— Arriral at New York— MlUtarj Instnictlons to Schayler— 
Anriral at the Camp 44S 




Thb Washington family is of an ancient English stock, the gene- 
alogy of which has been traced up to the century immediately 
succeeding the Gonqaest At that time it was in possession of 
landed estates and manorial privileges in the county of Durham, 
such as were enjoyed only by those, or their descendants, who 
had come over from Normandy with the Conqueror, or fought 
under his standard. When William the Conqueror laid waste 
the whole country north of the Humber, in punishment of the 
insurrection of the Northumbrians, he apportioned the estates 
among his followers, and advanced Normans and other foreigners 
to- the principal ecclesiastical dignities. One of the most 
wealthy and important sees was that of Durham. Hither had 
been transported the bones of St. Cuthbert from their original 
dirine at Lindisfame, when it was ravaged by the Danes. That 
Vol. I. 1 


saint, says Camden, was esteemed by princes and gentry a titular 
saint against the Scots.* His shrine, therefore, had been held in 
peculiar reverence by the Saxons, and the see of Durham en- 
dowed with extraordinary privileges. 

William continued and increased those privileges. He 
needed a powerful adherent on this frontier to keep the restless 
Northumbrians in order, and check Scottish invasion; and no 
doubt considered an enlightened ecclesiastic, appointed by the 
crown, a safer depositary of such power than an hereditary noble. 

Having placed a noble and learned native of Loraine in the 
diocese, therefore, he erected it into a palatinate, over which the 
bishop,- as Count Palatine, had temporal, as well as spiritual juris- 
diction. He built a strong castle for his protection, and to serve as 
a barrier against the Northern foe. He made him lord high-ad- 
miral of the sea and waters adjoining his palatinate, — ^lord warden 
of the marches, and conservator of the league between England 
and Scotland. Thenceforth, we are told, the prelates of Durham 
owned no earthly superior within their diooese, but continued for 
centuries to exercise every right attached to an independent 

The bishop, as Count Palatine, lived in almost royal state 
and splendor. He had his lay chancellor, chamberlains, secreta- 
ries, steward, treasurer, master of the horse, and a host of minor 
officers. Still he was under feudal obligations. All landed 
property in those warlike times, implied military service. 
Bishops and abbots, equally with great barons who held estates 
11?) mediately of the crown, were obliged, when required, to furnish 

• Camden, Brit iv., 849. 

f AnnaU of Roger de Hoyc Jon. Hutchinson's Durham, vol. iL CoUoo- 
tanea Curioea, toL il, p. 88. 


ihe king with armed men in proportion to their domuns ; bat 
they had their feudatories under them to aid tiiem in this serrioe. 

The prinoely prelate of Durham had his barons and knights, 
who held estates of him on feudal tenure, and were bound to 
serye him in peace and war. They sat occasionally in his coun- 
cils, gave martial splendor to his court, and were obliged to have 
horse and weapon ready for serrice, for they lived in a belligerent 
neighborhood, disturbed occasionally by ciyil war, and often by 
Scottish fwray. When the banner of St. Guthbert, the royal 
standard of the province, was displayed, no armed feudatory of 
the bishop could refuse to take the field.* 

Some of these prelates, in token of the warlike duties of their 
diocese, eugraved on their seals a knight on horseback armed at 
all points, brandishing in one hand a sword, and holding forth in 
the other the arms of the see. t 

Among the knights who held estates in the palatinate oti 
these warlike conditions, was William db Hertbuhn, the pro- 
genitor of the Washingtons. His Norman name of William 
would seem to point out his national descent ; and the family 
long continued to have Norman names of baptism. The surname 
of De Hertburn was taken from a village on the palatinate which 
he held of the bishop in knight's fee ,* probably the same now 
called Hartbum on the banks of the Tees. It had become a 
custom among the Norman families of rank about the time of tiie 
Conquest, to take surnames from their castles or estates ; it was 
not until some time afterwards that surnames became generally 
assumed by the people.^ 

* Robert de Graystanes, Ang^ Sac, p. 746. 
f Camden, Brit iv., 849. 

X Lower on Surnames, toI. i, p. 43. Fuller says, that the custom of 
■omames was brought from France in Edward the Confessor^s time, about 


How or when the De Hertburns first acquired possession of 
their village is not known. Thej may have been companions in 
arms with Robert de Bros (or Bruce) a noble knight of Nor 
mandj, rewarded bj William the Conqueror with great posses- 
sions in the North, and among others, with the lordships of Hert 
and Hertoess in the county of Durham. 

The first actual mention we find of the family is in the Bol- 
den Book, a record of all the lands appertaining to the diocese 
in 1183. In this it is stated that William de Hertbum had ex- 
changed his Tillage of Hertburn for the manor and village of 
Wessyngton, likewise in the diocese ; paying the bishop a quit- 
rent of four pounds, and engaging to attend him with two grey- 
hounds in grand hunts, and to furnish a man at arms whenever 
military aid should be required of the palatinate.* 

The family changed its surname with its estate, and thence- 

fifty years before the Conquest; but did not beoome TmlTersally settled 
untH some hundred years afterwards. At first they did not descend hered- 
itarily on the {axmly.^FSdler, Church History. Roll BaUle Abbey. 

* The Bolden Book. As this ancient document giyes the first trace of 
the Washiogion family, it merits especial mention. In 1183, a survey was 
made by order of Bishop de Pusaz of all the lands of the see held in de- 
mesne, or by tenants in yillanage. Hie record was entered in a book 
called the Bolden Buke ; the parish of Bolden occurring first in alphabeti- 
cal arrangement. The document commences in the following manner: 
Incipit liber qui yocatur Bolden Book. Anno Dominice Inoamationis, 
1183, <&c. 

The following is the memorandum in question : — 

Willus de nertebum habet Wessyngton (excepta' ecdesia et terra ec- 
desie partinen) ad excamb. pro rilla de Herteburn quam pro hao quietam 
clamavit : Et reddit 4 L. £t yadit in magna coxa ctun 2 Leporar. £t 
quando commune auxilium Tenerit debet dare 1 Militem ad plus de aux- 
ilio, Ac. — Collectanea Curiofa, voL il, p. 89. 

The Bolden Buke is a small folio, deposited in the office of the bishop's 
auditor, at Durham. 


forward assnined tKat of Be Wbssynoton.* The condition of 
military service attached to its manor will be foand to have been 
often exacted, nor was the service in the grand hunt an idle form. 
Hunting came next to war in those days, as the occupation of the 
nobility and gentry. The clergy engaged in it equally with the 
laity. The hunting establishment of the Bishop of Durham was 
on a princely scale. He had his forests, chases and parks, with 
their train of foresters, rangers, and park keepers. A grand hunt 
was a splendid pageant in which all his barons and knights at- 
tended him with horse and hound. The stipulations with the 
Seignior of Wessyngton show how strictly the rights of the chase 
were defined. All the game taken by him in going to the forest 
belonged to the bishop ; all taken on returning belonged to him- 

Hugh de Pusaz (or De Pudsay) during whose episcopate we 
meet with this first trace of the De Wessyngtons, was a nephew 
of king Stephen, and a prelate of great pretensions ; fond of ap- 
pearing with a train of ecclesiastics and an armed retinue. When 
Richard Coeur de Lion put every thing at pawn and sale to raise 
funds for a crusade to the Holy Land, the bishop resolved to ac- 
company him. More wealthy than his sovereign, he made mag- 
nificent preparations. Besides ships to convey his troops and 
retinue, he had a sumptuous galley for .himself, fitted up with a 
throne or episcopal chair of silver, and all the household, and 
ev^i culinary, utensils, were of the same costly material Li a 

* The name U probably of Saxon origin. It existed in England prior 
to the Conquest. The village of Waaseng^ne is mentioned in a Saxon 
charter as granted by king Edgar in 978 to Thomey Abbey. — ColUcianea 
TapographUa^ iv., 66. 

f Hutchinson's Durham yoL ii, p. 488. 


word, had not the prelate been induced to stay at home, and aid 
the king with hb treasures, bj being made one of the regents 
of the kingdom, and Earl of Northumberland for life, the De 
Wessjngtons might have followed the banner of St. Cuthbert 
to the Holy wars. 

Nearly seventy years afterwards we find the family still re- 
taining its manorial estate in the palatinate. The names of Bondo 
de Wessyngton and William his son appear on charters of land, 
granted in 1257 to religious houses. Soon after occurred the 
wars of the barons, in which the throne of Henry IIL was shaken 
by the De Mountforts. The chivaliy of the palatinate rallied 
under the royal standard. On the list of loyal knights who fought 
for their sovereign in the disastrous battle of Lewes (1264), in 
which the king was taken prisoner, we find the name of William 
Weshington, of Weshington.* 

During the splendid pontificate of Anthony Beke (or Beak), 
the knights of the palatinate had continually to be in the saddle, 
or buckled in armor. The prelate was so impatient of rest that 
he never took more than one sleep, saying it was imbeooming a 
man to turn from one side to another in bed. He was per- 
petually, when within his diocese, either riding from one manor 
to another, or hunting and hawking. Twice he assisted Edward 
I. with all his force in invading Scotland. In the progress north- 
ward with the king, the bishop led the van, marching a day in 
advance of the main body, with a mercenary force, paid by him- 
self, of one thousand foot and five hundred horse. Besides these 
he had his feudatories of the palatinate ; six bannerets and one 

* This list of kiughts was inserted in the Bolden Book as an additional 
entry. It is cited at full kngth by Hatohinion. — JBitL Durhamf vol I, p. 220. 


himdred and sixty knights, not one of whom, says an old poem, 
bat surpassed Arthur himself, though endowed with the charmed 
gifts of Merlin.* We presume the De Wessyngtons were among 
those preux chevaliers, as the banner of St Cuthbert had been 
taken from its shrine on the occasion, and of course all the armed 
force of the diocese was bound to follow. It was borne in front 
of the army by a monk of Durham. There were many rich ca- 
parisons, says the old poem, many beautiful pennons, fluttering 
firom lances, and much neighing of steeds. The hills and valleys 
were covered with sumpter horses and waggons laden with tents 
and provisions. The Bishop of Durham in his warlike state ap- 
peared, we are told, more like a powerful prince, than a priest or 

At the surrender of the crown of Scotland by John Baliol, 
which ended this invasion, the bishop negotiated on the part of 
England. As a trophy of the event, the chair of Schone used 
on the inauguration of the Scottish monarchs, and containing the 
stone on which Jacob dreamed, the palladium of Scotland, was 
transferred to England and deposited in Westminster Abbey. ( 

• Onques Artoua pour touz ces charmes, 
Si beau prisent ne ot de Merlyn. 

SiaoB or Kaklay^sock ; an old Pomn Ui Norman. Trench, 

f Robert de Oraystanes, Aug. Sac, p. 746, cited by Hutchinson, vol i. 
p. 239. 

X An extract from an inedited poem, cited by Nicolas in his translation 
of the Siege of Carlayarock, gives a striking picture of the palatinate in 
these days of its pride and splendor : — 

There Taloor bowed before the rood end book. 

And kneelinf knighthood served a prelate lord, 
Yet little deigned he on snch train to look, 

Or glance of ruth or pltj to affwd. 

There time hoe heard the peal mng oat at night. 
Has seen from ercrj tower the cressets itream, 


In the reign of Edward III. we find the De Wessyngtons 
still mingling in chiyalrons scenes. The name of Sir Stephen de 
Wessyngton appears on a list of knights (nobles chevaliers) who 
were to tilt at a tournament at Dunstable in 1334. He bore for 
his device a golden rose on an azure field.* 

He was soon called to exercise his arms on a sterner field. 
In 1346, Edward and his son, the Black Prinpe, being absent 
with the armies in France, king David of Scotland invaded North- 
umberland with a powerful army. Queen Philippa, who had 
remained in England as regent, immediately took the field, calling 
the northern prelates and nobles to join her standard. They all 
hastened to obey. Among the prelates was Hatfield, the Bishop 
of Durham. The sacred banner of. St. Cuthbert was again dis- 
played, and the chivalry of the palatinate assisted at>the famous 
battle of NeviPs cross, near Durham, in which the Scottish army 
was defeated and king David taken prisoner. 

Queen Philippa hastened with a victorious train to cross the 
sea at Dover, and join king Edward in his camp before Calais. 
The prelate of Durham accompanied her. His military train 
consisted of three bannerets, forty-eight knights, one hundred and 
siziy-four esquires, and eighty archers, on horseback.! They all 
arrived to witness the surrender of Calais, (1346,) on which oc- 

Wban the red bale fire on yon western height 
Had roosed the warder from his fltfol dream. 

Has seen old Dorham^ lion banner float 
O'er the prond bulwark, that, with giant pride 

And feet deep plunged amidst the circling moat, 
The eflbrts of the roTlng Soot defied. 

^ Collect Topog. et Genealog. T. iy., p. 895. 
t (Jollier's Eccles. Hiat, Book VI., Cent XIV. 


oasioQ queen Philippa distinguished herself by her noble interfer- 
ence in saving the lives of its patriot citizens. 

Such were the warlike and stately scenes in which the De 
Wessyngtons were called to mingle by their feudal duties as 
knights of the palatinate. A few years after the last event ( 1 350), 
William, at that time lord of the manor of Wessyngton, had li- 
cense to settle it and the village upon himself, his wife, and " his 
own right heirs.'' He died in 1367, and his son and heir, 
William, succeeded to the estate. The latter is mentioned under 
the name of Sir William de Wesohington, as one of the knights 
who sat in the privy council of Uie county during the episcopate 
of John Fordham.* During this time the whole force of the pa- 
latinate was roused to pursue a foray of Scots, onder Sir William 
Douglas, who, having ravaged the country, were returning laden 
with spoil. It was a friiit of the feud between the Douglases and 
the Percys. The marauders were overtaken by Hotspur Percy, 
and then took place the battle of Otterboume, in which Percy 
was taken prisoner and Douglas 8lain.t 

For upwards of two hundred years the De Wessfyngtons had 
now sat in the coimcils of the palatinate ; had mingled wit^ horse 
and hound in the stately hunts of its prelates, and followed the 
banner of St. Cuthbert to the field; but Sir William, just men- 
tioned, was the last of the family that rendered this feudal service. 
He was the last male of the line to which the inheritance of the 
manor, by the license granted to his father, was confined. It 
passed away from the De Wessyngtons, after his death, by the 

. • Hatchinson, vol ii. 
f Theare the Dowglas lost his life, 
And the Percye was led away. 

FoRDUN. Quoted by Burtee*$ Hist. Durham, vol L 


marriage of his only daughter and heir, Dionisia, with Sir William 
Temple of Studlej. By the year 1 400 it had become the proper- 
ty of the BlaykestoDS.* 

But though the name of De Wessyngton no longer figured on 
the chivalrous roll of the palatinate, it continued for a time to 
flourish in the ck isters. In the year 1416, John de Wessyngton 
was elected prior of the Benedictine convent, attached to the 
cathedral. The monks of this convent had been licensed by 
Pope Gregory Y II. to perform, the solemn duties of the cathedral 
in place of secular clergy, and William the Conqueror had or- 
dained that the priors of Durham should enjoy all the liberties, 
dignities and honors of abbots; should hold their lands and 
churches in their own hands and free disposition, and have the 
abbot's seat on the left side of the choir — thus taking rank of 
every one but the bishop.f 

In the course of three centuries and upwards, which had since 
elapsed, these honors and privileges had been subject to repeated 
dispute and encroachment, and the prior had nearly been elbowed 
out of the abbot's chair by the archdeacon. John de Wessyngton 
was not a man to submit tamely to such infringements of his 
rights. He forthwith set himself up as the champion of his 
priory, and in a learned tract, de Juribus et Fossessionibt^ Ec- 
cUncB Dunelmy established the validity of the long controverted 
claims, and fixed himself firmly in the abbot's chair. His success 
in this controversy gained him much renown among his brethren 
of the cowl, and in 1426 he presided at the general chapter of the 
order of St. Benedict, held at Northampton. 

• Hatohinson's Durham, vol il, p. 489. 

f Dogdale Monasticon Anglicanum. T. L, p. 281. London ed. 1846. 


The stout prior of Dorkam had other disputes with the bishop 
sod the secular clergy touching his ecclesiastical functions, in 
which he was equally victorious, and several tracts remain in 
manuscript in the dean and chapter^s library ; weapons hung up 
in die church armory as memorials of his polemical batdes. 

Finally, after fighting divers good fights for the honor of his 
priory, and filling the abbot's chair for thirty years, he died, to 
use an ancient phrase, '^in all the odor of sanctity," in 1446, 
and was buried like a soldier on his battle-field, at the door of 
the north aisle of his church, near to the altar of St. Benedict. 
On his tombstone was an inscription in brass, now unfortunately 
obliterated, which may have set forth the valiant deeds of this 
Washington of the cloisters.* 

By this time the primitive stock of the De Wessyngtons had 
separated into divers branches, holding estates in various parts 
of England ; some distinguishing themselves in the learned pro- 
fessions, others receiving knighthood for public services. Their 
names, are to be found honorably recorded in county histories, or 
engraved on monuments in time-worn diurches and cathedrals, 
those garnering places of English worthies. By degrees th» 
seignorial sign of de disappeared from before the family surname, 
which also varied from Wessyngton to Wassington, Wasshington, 
and finally, to Washington.! A parish in the county of Durham 

* Hut^DSon's Durham, voL il, passim. 

f ** llie de came to be omitted,** says aa old treatise, ** when EngUsh- 
men and English manners began to prevail npon the reooyery of lost 
CT^dlf-^RegHMion of decayed inieUigence in antiquUiu. Lond. 168i. 

About the time of Henry VL, says another treatise, the de or d* was 
generally dropped from surnames, when the title of armiff^t «9quUr, 
amongst the hoads of families, and gtnerotnMy or gmUylman, among younger 
sons was substituted. — Loioer on SumanuM, vol i. 


bears the name as last written, and in this probably the ancient 
manor of Wessjngton was sitoated. There is another parish of 
the name in the connty of Sussex. 

The branch of the family to which our Washington immedi- 
ately belongs sprang from Laurence Washington, Esquire, of 
Gray's Inn, son of John Washington, of Warton in Lancashire. 
This Laurence Washington was for some time mayor of North- 
ampton, and on the dissolution of the priories by Henry YIH. 
he received, in 1538, a grant of the manor of Sulgrave, in North- 
amptonshire, with other lands in the vicinity, all confiscated pro- 
perty formerly belonging to the monastery of St Andrew's. 

Sulgrave remained in the family until 1620, and was com- 
monly called " Washington's manor." • 

One of the direct descendants of the grantee of. Sulgrave was 

* The manor of Garsdon in Wiltshire has been mentioned as the home- 
stead of the anoestors of our VTashington. Thb is a mistake. It was the 
residence of Sir Laurence Washington, second son of the above-mentioned 
g^rantee of Sulgraye. Elizabeth, granddaughter of this Sir Laurence, mar- 
ried Robert Shirley, Earl Ferrers and Viscount of Tamworth. Washington 
became a baptismal name among the Shirleys — sereral of the Earls Ferrers 
hare borne it 

The writer of these pages visited Sulgrave a few years since. It was in 
a quiet rural neighborhood, where the farm houses were quaint and anti- 
quated. A part only of the manor house remained, and was inhabited by 
a farmer. The Washington crest, in colored glass, was to be seen in a 
window of what was now the buttery. A window on which the whole 
DunQy arms was emblazoned had been removed to the residence of the ac- 
tual proprietor of the manor. Another relic of the ancient manor of the 
Waehingtons was a rookery in a venerable grove hard by. The rooks, 
those stanch adherents to old family abodes, still hovered and cawed about 
their hereditary nests. In the pavement of the parish church we were 
shown a stone slab bearing effigies on plates of brass of Laurence Wassh- 
ington, gent., and Anne his wife, and their four sons and eleven daughters. 
The inicription in black letter was dated 1664. 

6SNEAL00T. 13 

Sir William Washington, of Packington, in the county of Kent. 
He married a sister of Gkorge Yilliers, Duke of Buckingham, the 
unfortunate favorite of Charles L This may have attached the 
Sulgraye Washingtons to the Stuart dynasty, to which they ad- 
hered loyally and generously throughout all its vicissitudes. 
One of the family, Lieutenant Colonel James Washington, took 
up arms in the cause of king Charles, and lost his life at the 
siege of Pontefract castle. Another of the Sulgrave line, Sir 
Henry Washington, son and heir of Sir William, before men- 
tioned, exhibited in the civil wars the old chivalrous spirit 
of the knights of the palatinate. He served under prince Bupert 
at the storming of Bristol, in 1643, and when the assailants were 
beaten off at every point, he broke in with a handful of infantry 
at a weak part of the wall, made room for the horse to follow, and 
opened a path to victory.* 

He distinguished himself still more in 1646, when elevated to 
the command of Worcester, the governor having been captured 
by the enemy. It was a time of confusion and dismay. The 
king had fled from Oxford in disguise and gone to the parlia- 
mentary camp at Newark. The royal cause was desperate. In 
this crisis Sir Henry received a letter from Fairfax, who, with 
his victorious army, was at Haddington, demanding the surren- 
der of Worcester. The following was Colonel Washington's 
reply : 


It is acknowledged by your books and by report of your own 
quarter, that the king is in some of your armies. That granted, 
it may be easy for you to procure his Majesty's commands for the 

* Clarendon, Book viL 


disposal of this garrison. Till then I shall make good the trust 
reposed in me. As for conditions, if I shall be necessitated, I 
shall make the best I can. The worst I know and fear not ; if I 
had, the profession of a soldier had not been begun, nor so long 
continued by your Excellency's humble servant, 

Henqy Washington.* 

In a few days Colonel Whalley invested the city with five 
thousand troops. Sir Henry dispatched messenger after messen- 
ger in quest of the king to know his pleasure. None of them 
returned. A female emissary was equally unavailing. Week 
after week elapsed, until nearly three months had expired. Pro- 
visions began to fail. The city was in confusion. The troops 
grew insubordinate. Yet Sir Henry persisted in the defence. 
General Fairfax, with 1,500 horse and foot, was daily expected. 
There was not powder enough for an hour's contest should the 
city be stormed. Still Sir Henry " awaited his Majesty's com- 

At length news arrived that the king had issued an order for 
the surrender of all towns, castles, and forts. A printed copy of 
the order was shown to Sir Henry, and on the faith of that docu- 
ment he capitulated (19th July, 1646) on honorable terms, won 
by his fortitude and perseverance. Those who believe in heredi- 
tary virtues may see foreshadowed in the conduct of this Wash- 
ington of Worcester, the magnanimous constancy of purpose, the 
disposition to " hope against hope," which bore our Washington 
triumphantly through the darkest days of our revolution. 

We have little note of the Sulgrave branch of the family after 

• Greene's Antiquities of Worcester, p. 278. 


the death of Charles I. and the exile of his saooessor. England, 
during the protectorate, became an uncomfortable residence to 
such as had signalized themselves as adherents to the house of 
Stuart In 1655, an attempt at a general insurrection drew on 
them the vengeance of Cromwell Many of their part j who had 
no share in the conspiracy, yet sought refuge in other lands, where 
they might live free from molestation. This may have been the 
case with two brothers, John and Andrew Washington, great- 
grandsons of the grantee of Sulgrave, and uncles of Sir Henry, 
^e gallant defender of Worcester. John had for some time re- 
sided at South Cave, in the East Biding of Yorkshire ;* but 
now emigrated with his brother to Virginia ; which colony, from 
its allegiance to the exiled monarch and the Anglican Church had 
become a favorite resort of the Cavaliers. The brothers arrived 
in Virginia in 1657, and purchased lands in Westmoreland 
County, on the northern neck, between the Potomac and Bappa- 
bannock rivers. John married a Miss Anne Pope, of the same 
county, and took up his residence on Bridges Creek, near where 
it falls into the Potomac. He became an extensive planter, and, 
in process of time, a magistrate and member of the House of 
Burgesses. Having a spark of the old military fire of the &mily, 
we find him, as Colonel Washington, leading the Virginia forces, 
in co-operation with those of Maryland, against a band of Seneca 
Indians, who were ravaging the settlements along the Potomac. 
In honor of his public services and private virtues the parish in 
which he resided was called after him, and still bears the name 

* South Cave is near the Humber. " In the vioinity is Cave Oaatle, an 
embattled edifice. It has a noble collection of paintings, indndiDg a por- 
trait of General Washinglon, whose ancestors possessed a portion of the 
estate."— i>iM«, Topog, DiO. voL i., p. 630. 


of Washington. He lies buried in a vault on Bridges Oreek; 
which, for generations, was the family place of sepulture. 

The estate continued in the f&mily. His grandson Augus- 
tine, the father of our Washington, was born there in 1694. He 
was twice married; first (April 20di, 1715), to Jane, daughter 
of Caleb Butler, Esq., of Westmoreland County, by whom he had 
four children, of whom only two, Lawrence and Augustine, sur- 
vived the years of childhood ; their mother died November 24th, 
1728, and was buried in the family vault 

On the 6th of March, 1730, he married in second nuptials, 
Mary, the daughter of Colonel Ball, a young and beautifdl girl, 
said to be the belle of the Northern Neck. By her he had four 
SODS, George, Samuel, John Augustine, and Charles; and two 
daughters, Elizabeth, or Betty, as she was commonly called, and 
Mildred, who died in infancy. 

George, the eldest, the subject of this biography, was bon 
on the 22d of February (11th, 0. S. ), 1732, in the homestead on 
Bridges Creek. This house commanded a view over many 
miles of the Potomac, and the opposite shore of Maryland. 
It had probably been purchased with the property, and was 
one of the primitive farm-houses of Virginia. The rOof was 
steep, and sloped down into low projecting eaves. It had four 
rooms on the ground floor, and others in the attic, and an im- 
mense chimney at each end. Not a vestige of it reiAains. Two 
or three decayed fig trees, with shrubs and vines, linger about the 
place, and here and there a flower grown wild serves " to mark 
where a garden has been." Such at least, was the case a few years 
since ; but these may have likewise passed away. A stone* marks 

* Placed there by George W. Cuatis, E«»q. 


^e site of the house, and an inscription denotes its being the 
birthplace of Washington. 

We have entered with some minuteness into this genealogical 
detail ; tracing the family step by step through the pages of his- 
torical documents for upwards of six centuries ,* and we have 
been tempted to do so by the documentary proofs it gives of the 
lineal and enduring worth of the race. We have shown that, for 
many generations, and through a variety of eventful scenes, it 
has maintained an equality of fortune and respectability, and 
whenever brought to the test has acquitted itself with honor and 
loyalty. Hereditary rank may be an illusion ; but hereditary vir- 
tue gives a patent of innate nobleness beyond all the blaionry of 
the Herald's College. 




Not long after the birth of (George, his f&ther removed to an 
estate in Stafford County, opposite Fredericksburg. The house 
was similar in style to the one at Bridges Creek, and stood on a 
rising ground overlooking a meadow which bordered the Rappa- 
hannock. This was the home of Gkorge^s boyhood ; the meadow 
was his play-ground, and the scene of his early athletic sports ; 
but this home, like that in which he was born, has disappeared ; 
the site is only to be traced by fragments of bricks, china, and 

In those days the means of instruction in Virginia were 
limited, and it was the custom among the wealthy planters to send 
their sons to England to complete their education. This was 
done by Augustine Washington with his eldest son Lawrence, 
then about fifteen years of age, and whom he no doubt considered 
the future head of the family. George was yet in early child- 
hood : as his intellect dawned he received the rudiments of edu- 

1740.] EARLY EDUCATIOy. 19 

oation in the best establishment for the purpose that the neighbor- 
hood afforded. It was what was called, in popular parlance, an 
'' old field sohool-hoQM,- '' humble enough in its pretensions, and 
kept by one of his father's teMnts named Hobby, who moreover 
was sexton of the parish. The instmolMMi doled out by him 
must have been of the simplest kind, reading, writing, sad oyhr 
ing, perhaps ; but George had the benefit of mental and moral 
culture at home, from an excellent father. 

Several traditional anecdotes have been given to the world, 
somewhat prolix and trite, but illustrative of the familiar and 
practical manner in which Augustine Washington, in the daily 
intercourse of domestic life, impressed the ductile mind of his 
diild with high maxims of religion and virtue, and imbued him 
with a spirit of justice and generosity, and above all a scrupu- 
lous love of truth. 

When George was about seven or eight years old his brother 
Lawrence returned from England, a well-educated and accom- 
plished youth. There was a difference of fourteen years in their 
ages, which may have been oue cause of the strong attachment 
which took place between them. Lawrence looked down with a 
protecting eye upon the boy whose dawning intelligence and per- 
fect rectitude won his regard ; while George looked up to his 
manly and cultivated brother as a model in mind and manners. 
We call particular attention to this brotherly interchange of af- 
fection, from the influence it had on all the future career of the 
subject of this memoir. 

Lawrence Washington had something of the old military 
spirit of the family, and circumstances soon called it into action. 
Spanish depredations on British commerce had recently provoked 
reprisals. Admiral Yemon, commander-in-chief in tho West 


Indies, had accordingly captured Porto Bello, on the Isthmus of 
Darien. The Spaniards were preparing to revenge the blow ^ the 
French were fitting out ships to aid them. Troops were em- 
barked in England for another campaign in the West Indies ; a 
regiment of four battalions was to be raised in the colonies and 
sent to join them at Jamaica. There was a sudden outbreak of 
military ardor in the province ; the sound of drum and fife was 
heard in the villages with the parade of recruiting parties. 
Lawrence Washington, now twenty-two years of age, caught the 
infection. He obtained a captain's commission in the newly 
raised regiment, and embarked with it for the West Indies in 1740. 
He served in the Joint expeditions of Admiral Vernon and Gen- 
eral Wentworth, in the land forces commanded by the latter, and 
acquired the friendship and confidence of hoth of those officers. 
He was present at the siege of Carthagena, when it was bom- 
barded by the fleet, and when the troops attempted to escalade 
the citadel. It was an ineffectual attack ; the ships could not get 
near enough to throw their shells into the town, and the scaling 
ladders proved too short. That part of the attack, however, with 
which Lawrence was concerned, distinguished itself by its bravery. 
The troops sustamed unflinching a destructive fire for several 
hours, and at length retired with honor, their small force having 
sustained a loss of about six hundred in killed and woimded. 

We have here the secret of that martial spirit so often cited 
of Oeorge in his boyish days. He had seen his brother fitted out 
for the wars. He had heard by letter and otherwise of the war- 
like scenes in which he was mingling. All his amusements took 
a military turn. He made soldiers of his schoolmates ; they 
had their jnimic parades, reviews, and sham fights ; a boy named 


William Bustle was sometimes his competitor, but George waa 
commander-in-chief of Hobby's school 

Lawrence Washington returned home in the autumn of 1742, 
the campaigns in the West Indies being ended, and Admiral 
Yemon and General Wentworth being recalled to England. It 
was the intention of Lawrence to rejoin his regiment in that 
country, and seek promotion in the army, but circumstances com- 
pletely altered his plans. He formed an attachment to Anne, 
the eldest daughter of the Honorable William Fair&z, of Fair- 
fax County ; his addresses were well received, and they became 
engaged. Their nuptials were delayed by the sudden and un- 
timely death of his father, which took place on the 12th of April, 
1743, after a short but severe attack of gout in the stomach, and 
when but forty-nine years of age. George had been absent from 
home on a visit during his father's illness, and just returned in 
time to receive a parting look of affection. 

Augustine Washington left large possessions, distributed by 
will among his children. To Lawrence, the estate on the banks 
of the Potomac, with other real property, and several shares in 
iron works. To Augustine, the second son by the first marriage, 
the old homestead and estate in Westmoreland. The children 
by the second marriage were severally well provided for, and 
George, when he became of age, was to have the house and lands 
on the Bappahannock. 

In the month of July the marriage of Lawrence with Miss 
Fairfax took place. He now gave up all thoughts of foreign ser- 
vice, and settled himself on his estate on the banks of the Poto- 
mac, to which he gave the name of Mount Yerkon, in honor of 
the admiral 

Augustine took up his abode at the homestead on Bridges 


Creek, and married Anne, daughter and co-heiress of William 
Ajlett, Esquire, of Westmoreland County. 

George, now eleven years of age, and the other children of 
the second marriage, had been left under the guardianship of their 
mother, to whom was intrusted the proceeds of all their property 
until they should severally come of age. She proved herself 
worthy of the trust. Endowed with plain, direct good sense, 
thorough conscientiousness, and prompt decision, she governed 
her family strictly, but kindly, exacting deference while she in- 
spired affection. George, being her eldest son, was thought to be 
her favorite, yet she never gave him undue preference, and the 
implicit deference exacted from him in childhood continued to be 
habitually observed by him to the day of her death. He in- 
herited from her a high temper and a spirit of command, but her 
early precepts and example taught him to restrain and govern that 
temper, and to square his conduct on the exact principles of equity 
and justice. 

Tradition gives an interesting picture of the widow, with her 
little flock gathered round her, as was her daily wont, reading to 
them lessons of religion and morality out of some standard work. 
Her favorite volume was Sir Matthew Hale's Contemplations, 
moral and divine. The admirable maxims therein contained, for 
outward action as well as self-government, sank deep into the 
mind of George, and, doubtless, had a great influence in forming 
his character. They certainly were exemplified in his conduct 
throughout life. This mother's manual, bearing, his mother's 
name, Mary Washington, written with her own hand, was ever pre- 
served by him with filial care, and may still be seen in the ar- 
chives of Mount Yemon. A precious document 1 Let those 
who wish to know the moral foundation of his character consult 
its pages. 


Having no longer the ben^t of a father's instmctions at 
home, and the scope of tuition of Hobby, the sexton, being too 
limited for the growing wants of his pnpil, George was now sent 
to reside with Angostine Washington, at Bridges Creek, and 
enjoy the benefit of a superior school in that neighborhood, kept 
bj a Mr. Williams. His education, howeyer, was plain and prao- 
tical. He neyer attempted the learned languages, nor manifested 
any inclination for rhetoric or belles-lettres. His object, or the 
object of his friends, seems to haye been confined to fitting him 
for ordinary business. His manuscript school books still exist, 
and are models of neatness and accuracy. One of them, it is 
true, a ciphering bojok, preseryed in the library at Mount VemoU; 
has some school-boy attempts at calligraphy ; nondescript birds, 
executed with a flourish of the pen, or profiles of faces, probably 
intended for those of his schoolmates ; the rest are all graye and 
business-like. Before he was thirteen years of age he had copied 
into a yolume forms for all kinds of mercantile and legal papers ; 
bills of exchange, notes of hand, deeds, bonds, and the like. 
This early self-tuition gaye him throughout life a lawyer's skill in 
drafting documents, and a merchant's exactness in keeping ac- 
counts ; so that all the concerns of his yarious estates ; his deal- 
ings with his domestic stewards and foreign agents ; his accounts 
with goyemment, and all his financial transactions are to this day 
to be seen posted up in books, in his own handwriting, monuments 
of his method and unwearied accuracy. 

He was a self-disciplinarian in physical as well as mental mat- 
ters, and practised himself in all kinds of athletic exercises, such 
as running, leaping, wrestling, pitching quoits and tossing bars. 
His frame eyen in infancy had been large and powerful, and he 
now excelled most of his playmates in contests of agility and 

24 LIFE OF WAflfflNGTON. [1746. 

Strength. As a proof of his musoular power, a place is still 
pointed out at Fredericksburg, near the lower ferry, where, when 
a boy, he flung a stone across the Rappahannock. In horseman- 
ship too he already excelled, and was ready to back, and able to 
manage the most fiery steed. Traditional anecdotes remain of 
his achieyements in this respect. 

Aboye all, his inherent probity and the principles of justice 
on which he regulated all his conduct, eyen at this early period of 
life, were soon appreciated by his schoolmates ; he was referred to 
as an umpire in their disputes, and his decisions were neyer re- 
versed. As he had formerly been military chieftain, he was now 
legislator of the school ; thus displaying in boyhood a type of the 
future nutn. 

PAxmiAL ooNimor of ak xldkr bbothkr — ths vauvax faidlt— w uH iw q i OB'i 


The attachment of Lawrence Washington to his brother George 
seems to have acquired additional strength and tenderness on 
their father's death ; he now took a tmly paternal interest in his 
concerns, and had him as frequently as possible a guest at Mount 
Yemon. Lawrence had deservedly become a popular and leading 
personage in the country. He was a member of the House of 
Burgesses, and Adjutant General of the district, with the rank of 
major, and a regular salary. A frequent sojourn wiUi him 
brought George into familiar intercourse with the family of his 
£&ther-in*law, the Hon. William Fairfix, who resided at a beauti- 
fol seat called Belvoir, a few miles below Mount Yemon, and on 
the same woody ridge bordering the Potomac. 

William Fairfax was a num of liberal edooaiicm and intrijuao 
worth ; he had teen much of the worId» and bii mind luid been en* 

Vot. I.— 8 

26 LIFE OP WA8HINQT0N. [i74fi, 

riohed and ripened by yaried and adventurous experience. Of 
an ancient English family in Yorkshire, he had entered the army 
at the age of twenty-one ; had served with honor both in the East 
and West Indies, and officiated as governor of New Providence, 
after having aided in rescuing it from pirates. For some years 
past he had resided in Virginia, to manage the immense landed 
estates of his cousin, Lord Fairfax, and lived at Belvoir in the 
style of an English country gentleman, surrounded by an intelli- 
gent and cultivated family of sons and daughters. 

An intimacy with a family like this, in which the frankness 
and simplicity of rural and colonial life were united with Euro- 
pean refinement, could not but have a beneficial effect in mould- 
ing the character and manners of a somewhat homebred school- 
boy. It was probably his intercourse with them, and his 
ambition to acquit himself well in their society, that set him 
upon compiling a code of morals and manners which still exists 
in a manuscript in his own handwriting, entitled *' rules for be- 
havior in c<Hnpaiiy and conversation." It is extremely minute 
and circumstantial Some of the rules for personal deportment 
extend to such trivial matters, and are so quaint and formal, as 
almost to provoke a smile ; but in the main, a better manual of 
conduct could not be put into the hands of a youth. The whole 
oode evinces that rigid propriety and self control to which he 
subjected himself, and by which he brought all the impulses of a 
somewhat ardent temper under conscientious government. 

Other influences were brought to bear on Ckorge during his 
visit at Mount Yemon. His brother Lawrence still retained 
some of his military inclinations, fostered no doubt by his post 
of Adjutant General. William Fairfeuc, as we have shown, had 
l^eM a soldier, and in many trying scenes. Some of Lawrence's 

i74e.] soldiers' tales. 27 

comrades of the proyincial regiment, who had served with him in 
the West Indies, were occasional visitors at Mount Yernon ; or a 
ship of war, possibly one of Vernon's old fleet, would anchor in 
the Potomac, and its officers be welcome guests at the tables of 
Lawrence and his father-in-law. Thus military scenes on sea 
and shore would become the topics of conversation. The capture 
of Porto Bello ; the bombardment of Carthagena ; old stories of 
cruismgs in the East and West Indies, and campaigns against the 
pirates. We can picture to ourselves C^rge, a grave and earnest 
boy, with an expanding intellect, and a deep-seated passion for 
enterprise, listening to such conversations with a kindling spirit 
and a growing desire for military life. In this way most proba- 
bly was produced that desire to enter the navy which he evinced 
when about fourteen years of age. The opportunity for gratify- 
ing it appeared at hand. Ships of war frequented the colonies, 
and at times, as we have hinted, were anchored in the Potomac. 
The inclination was encouraged by Lawrence Washington and 
Mr. Fairfax. Lawrence retained pleasant recollections of his 
cruisings in the fleet of Admiral Yernon, and considered the 
naval service a popular path to fame and fortune. George was 
at a suitable age to enter the navy. The great difficulty was to 
procure the assent of his mother. She was brought, however, to 
acquiesce ; a midshipman's warrant was obtained, and it is even 
said that the luggage of the youth was actually on board of a man 
of war, anchored in the river just below Mount Vernon. 

At the eleventh hour the mother's heart faltered. This was 
her eldest bom. A son, whose strong and steadfast character 
promised to be a support to herself and a protection to her other 
children. The thought of his being completely severed from her 
and CTposed to the hardships and perils of a boisterous profession, 


oyeroame even her resolute mind, and at her urgent remcmstraneea 
the nautical scheme was given up. 

To school, therefore, George returned, and continued his 
studies for nearly two years longer, devoting himself especially to 
mathematics, and accomplishing himself in those branches calcu- 
lated to fit him either for civil or military service. Among 
these, one of the most important in the actual state of. the coun- 
try was land surveying. In this he schooled himself thoroughly, 
using the highest processes of the art ; making surveys about 
the neighborhood, and keeping regular field books, some of whidi 
we have examined, in which the boundaries and measurements of 
the fields surveyed were carefully entered, and diagrams made, 
with a neatness and exactness as if the whole related to important 
land transactions instead of being mere school exercises. Thus, 
in his earliest days, there was perseverance and completeness in 
all his undertakings. Nothing was left half done, or done in a 
hurried and slovenly manner. The habit of mind thus cultivated 
continued throughout life ; so that however complicated his tasks 
and overwhelming his cares, in the arduous and hazardous situa- 
tions in which he was often placed, he found time to do every 
thing, and to do it welL He had acquired the magic of method, 
which of 'itself works wonders. 

In one of these manuscript memorials of his practical studies 
and exercises, we have come upon some documents singularly in 
contrast with all that wc have just cited, and, with his apparently 
unromantic character. In a word, there are evidences in his own 
handwriting, that, before he was fifteen years of age, he had con- 
ceived a passion for some unknown beauty, so serious as to dis- 
turb his otherwise well-regulated mind, and to make him really 
unhappy. Why Uiis juvenile attachment was a source of unhap- 


pineas we haye no positiye means of ascertaining. Perhaps the 
object of it may have considered him a mere school-boy, and 
treated him as such ; or his own shyness may haye been in his 
way, and his "rules for behavior and conversation" may as 
yet have sat awkwardly on him, and rendered him formal and 
ungainly when he most sought to please. Even in later years he 
was apt to be silent and embarrassed in female society. " He 
was a very bashful young man," said an old lady, whom he used 
to visit when they were both in their nonage. " I used often to 
wish that he would talk more." 

Whatever may have been the reason, this early attachment 
seems to have been a source of poignant discomfort to him. It 
clung to him after he took a final leave of school in the autumn 
of 1747, and went to reside with his brother Lawrence at Mount 
Yernon. Here he continued his mathematical studies and his 
practice in surveying, disturbed at times by recurrences of his 
unlucky passion. Though by no means of a poetical tempera* 
ment, the waste pages of his journal betray several attempts to 
pour forth his amorous sorrows in verse. They are mere com- 
mon-place rhymes, such as lovers at his age are apt to write, in 
which he bewails his " poor restless heart, wounded by Cupid's 
dart," and " bleeding for one who remains pitiless of his griefs 
and woes." 

The tenor of some of his verses induce us to believe that he 
never told his love ; but, as we have already surmised, was pre- 
vented by his bashfulness. 

" Ah, woe is me, that I should love and conceal; 
Long have I wished and never dare reveal" 

It is difficult to reconcile one's self to the idea of the cool and 
sedate Washington, the great champion of American liberty, a 


woe-worn loTcr in his youthful days, " sighing like furnace," and 
inditing plaintive verses about the groves of Mount Vernon. 
We are glad of an opportunity, however, of penetrating to his 
native feelings, and finding that under his studied decorum and 
reserve he had a heart of flesh throbbing with the warm impulses 
of human nature. . 

Being a favorite of Sir William Fairfax, he was now an occa- 
sional inmate of Belvoir. Among the persons at present residing 
there was Thomas, Lord Fairfax, cousin of William Fairfax, and 
of whose inunense landed property the latter was the agent. As 
this nobleman was one of Washington's earliest friends, and in 
some degree the founder of his fortunes, his character and history 
are worthy of especial note. 

Lord Fairfax was now nearly sixty years of age, upwards of 
six feet high, gaunt and raw-boned, near-sighted, with light gray 
eyes, sharp features and an aquiline nose. However ungainly his 
present appearance, he had figured to advantage in London life in 
his younger days. He had received his education at the univer* 
sity of Oxford, where he acquitted himself with credit He 
afterwards held a commission, and remained for some time in a 
regiment of horse called the Blues. His title and connections, of 
course, gave him access to the best society, in which he acquired 
additional currency by contributing a paper or two to Addison's 
Spectator, then in great vogue. 

In the height of his fashionable career, he became strongly 
attached to a young lady of rank ; paid his addresses, and was 
accepted. The weddiog day was fixed; the wedding dresses 
were provided; together with servants and equipages for the 
matrimonial establishment Suddenly the lady broke her en- 
gagement She had been dazzled by the superior brilliancy of a 
ducal coronet. 

mn.] LORD FAIRFAX. 81 

It was a cruel blow, alike to the affection and pride of Lord 
Fairfax, and wrought a change in both character and conduct. 
From that time he almost avoided the sex, and became shy and 
embarrassed in their society, excepting among those with whom 
he was connected or particularly intimate. This may have been 
among the reasons which ultimately induced him to abandon the 
gay world and bury himself in the wilds of America. He made 
a Toyage to Virginia about the year 1739, to visit his vast 
estates there. These he inherited from his mother, Oatharine, 
daughter of Thomas, Lord Oulpepper, to whom they had been 
granted by Charles IL The original grant was for all the lands 
lying between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers ; meaning 
thereby, it is said, merely the territory on the northern neck, east 
of the Blue Ridge. His lordship, however, discovering that the 
Potomac headed in the Allegany Mountains, returned to England 
and claimed a correspondent definition of his grant It was ar- 
ranged by compromise ; extending his domain into the Allegany 
Mountains, and comprising, among other lands, a great portion 
of the Shenandoah Yalley. 

Lord Fairfax had been delighted with his visit to Virginia. 
The amenity of the climate, the magnificence of the forest scen^ 
ery, the abundance of game, — all pointed it out as a favored 
land. He was pleased, too, with the frank, cordial character of 
the Virginians, and their independent mode of life ; and returned 
to it with the resolution of taking up his libode there for the re- 
nnunder of his days. His early disappointment in love was the 
cause of some eccentricities in his conduct ; yet he was amiable 
and courteous in his manners, and of a liberal and generous 

Another inmate of Belvoir at this time was George William 


Fairfax, about twenty-two years of age, the eldest son of the 
proprietor. He had been educated in England, and since his re- 
turn had married a daughter of Oolonel Carey, of Hampton, on 
James River. He had recently brought home his bride and her 
sister to his father's house. 

The merits of Washington were known and appreciated by 
the Fair&z family. Though not quite sixteen years of age, he 
no longer seemed a boy, nor was ho treated as such. Tall, ath- 
letic, and manly for his years, his early self-training, and the 
code of conduct he had devised, gave a gravity and decision to 
his conduct ; his frankness and modesty inspired cordial regard, 
and the melancholy, of which he speaks, may have produced a soft- 
ness in his manner calculated to win favor in ladies' eyes. 
According to his own account, the female society by which he was 
surrounded had a soothing effect on that melancholy. The 
charms of Miss Carey, the sister of the bride, seem even to have 
caused a slight fluttering in his bosom ; which, however, was con- 
stantly rebaked by the remembrance of his former passion — so at 
least we judge from letters to his youthful confidants, rough 
drafts of which are still to be seen in his tell-talejournal 

To one whom he addresses as his dear friend Bobin, he 
writes : '' My residence is at present at his lordship's, where I 
might, was my heart disengaged, pass my time very pleasantly, 
as there's a very agreeable young lady lives in the same house 
(CoL QeoTgo Fairfax's wife's sister) ; but as that's only adding 
fuel to fire, it makes me the more uneasy, for by often and una- 
voidably being in company with her, revives my former passion 
for your Lowland Beauty; whereas was I to live more retired 
from young women, I might in some measure alleviate my sor- 


rows, bj burying that chaste and troublesome passion in the grave 
of oblivion," &c. 

Similar avowals he makes to another of his young correspond 
ents, whom he styles, " Dear friend John ; " as also to a female 
confidant, styled " Dear Sally," to whom he acknowledges that 
the company of the " very agreeable young lady, sister-in-law of 
Col. George Fairfax," in a great measure cheers his sorrow and 

The object of this early passion is not positively known. 
Tradition states that the " lowland beauty " was a Miss Grimes, 
of Westmoreland, afterwards Mrs. Lee, and mother of General 
Henry Lee, who figured in revolutionary history as Light Horse 
Harry, and was always a favorite with Washington, probably 
from the recollections of his early tenderness for the mother. 

Whatever may have been the soothing effect of the female 
society by which he was surrounded at Belvoir, the youth found 
a more effectual remedy for his love melancholy in the company 
of Lord Fairfax. His lordship was a staunch fox-hunter, and 
kept horses and hounds in the English style. The hunting sea- 
son had arrived. The neighborhood abounded with sport ; but 
fox-hunting in Virginia required bold and skilful horsemanship. 
He found Washington as bold as himself in the saddle, and as eager 
to follow the hounds. He forthwith took him into peculiar 
favor ; made him his hunting companion ; and it was probably un- 
der the tuition of this hard-riding old nobleman that the youth 
imbibed that fondness for the chase for w^ich he was afterwards 

Their fox-hunting intercourse was attended with more impor- 
tant results. His lordship's possessions beyond the Blue Bidge 
had never been regularly settled nor surveyed. Lawless intrud- 
VoL. T.— 2* 


ers — squatters, as thej were called — ^were planting themselves 
along the finest streams and in the richest valleys, and virtually 
taking possession of the eountry. It was the anxious desire of 
Lord Fairfax to have these lands examined, surveyed, and por- 
tioned out into lots, preparatory to ejecting these interlopers or 
bringing them to reasonable terms. In Washington, notwith- 
standing his youth, he beheld one fit for the task — ^having noticed 
the exercises in surveying which he kept up while at Mount Ver- 
non, and the aptness and exactness with which every process was 
executed He was well calculated, too, by his vigor and activity, 
his courage and hardihood, to cope with the wild country to be 
surveyed, and with its still wilder inhabitants. The proposition 
had only t<^be ofifered to Washington to be eagerly accepted. It 
was the very kind of occupation for which he had been diligently 
training himsel£ All the preparations required by one of his 
simple habits were soon made, and in a very few days he was 
ready for his first expedition into the wiHemess. 





It was in the month of March (1748), and just after he had 
completed his sixteenth year, that Washington set oat on horse- 
back on this Boryeying expedition, in company with George Wil- 
liam Fairfax. Their route lay by Ashley's Gap, a pass through 
the Blue Ridge, that beautifdl line of mountains which, as yet, 
almost formed the western frontier of inhabited Virginia. Win- 
ter still lingered on the tops of the mountains, whence melting 
snows sent down torrents, which swelled the rivers and occasion* 
ally rendered them almost impassable. Spring, however, was 
softening the lower parts of the landscape and smiling in the 

They entered the great valley of Virginia, where it is about 
twenty-five miles wide ; a lovely and temperate region, diversified 
by gentle swells and sbpes, admirably adapted to cultivation. 
The Blue Bidge bounds it on one side, the Nortli Mountain, a 


ridge of the AUeganies, on the other; while through it flows 
that bright and abounding river, which, on accoant of its sur- 
passing beauty, was named by the Indians the Shenandoah — that 
is to say, '' the daughter of the stars." 

The first station of the travellers was at a kind of lodge in 
the wilderness, where the steward or land-bailiff of Lord Halifax 
resided, with such negroes as were required for farming purposes, 
and which Washington terms "his lordship's quarter." It was 
situated not far from the Shenandoah, and about twelve mile^ 
from the site of the present town of Winchester. 

In a diary kept with his usual minuteness, Washington speaks 
with delight of the beauty of the trees and the richness of the 
land in the neighborhood, and of his riding through a noble grove 
of sugar maples on the banks of the Shenandoah; and at the 
present day, the magnificence of the forests which still exist in 
this favored region justifies his eulogium. 

He looked around, however, with an eye to the profitable 
rather than the poetical. The gleam of poetry and romance, in- 
spired by his <' lowland beauty," occurs no more. The real busi- 
ness of life has commenced with hinu His diary affords no food 
for fancy. Every thing is practical. The qualities of the soil 
the relative value of sites and localities, are faithfully recorded. 
In these his early habits of observation and his exercises in sur- 
veying had already made him a proficient. 

His surveys commenced in the lower part of the valley, some 
distance above the junction of the Shenandoah with the Potomac, 
and extended for many miles along the former river. Here and 
there partial " dearings " had been made by squatters and hardy 
pioneers, and their rude husbandry had produced abundant crops 
of graiDi henq), and tobacco; civilization, however, had hardly 


yet entered the valley, if we may judge from the note of a night's 
lodging at the hoose of one of the settlers — Captain Hite, near 
the site of the present town of Winchester. Here, after supper, 
most of the company stretched themselves in baokwood style, 
before the fire; but Washington was shown into a bed-room. 
Fatigued with a hard day's work at surveying, he soon undressed ; 
but instead of being nestled between sheets in a comfortable bed, 
as at the maternal home, or at Mount Vernon, he found himself on 
a couch of matted straw, under a threadbare blanket, swarming 
with unwelcome bedfellows. After tossing about for a few mo- 
ments, he was glad to put on his clothes again, and rejoin his 
companions before the fire. 

Such was his first experience of life in the wilderness ; he 
soon, however, accustomed himself to *^ rough it," and adapt him- 
self to fare of all kinds, though he generally preferred a bivouac 
before a fire, in the open air, to the accommodations of a wood- 
man's cabin. Proceeding down the valley to the banks of the 
Potomac, they found that river so much swollen by the rain 
which had fallen among the Alleganies, as to be unfordable. 
To while away the time until it should subside, they made an ex- 
cursion to examine certain warm springs in a valley among the 
mountains, since called the Berkeley Springs. There they 
camped out at night, tmder the stars ; the diary makes no com- 
plaint of their accommodations ; and their camping-ground is now 
known as Bath, one of the favorite watering-places of Virginia. 
One of the warm springs was subsequently appropriated by Lord 
Fairfax to his own use, and still bears his name. 

After watching in vain for the river to subside, they procured 
a canoe, on which they crossed to the Maryland side ; swimming 
tbeir horses. A weary day's ride of forty miles up the left side 


of the river, in a continaal rain, and oyer what Washington pro- 
nounces the worst road ever trod by man or beast, brought them 
to the house of a Colonel Oresap, opposite the south branch of 
the Potomac, where they put up for the night. 

Here they were detained three or four days by inclement 
weather. On the second day they were surprised by the appear- 
ance of a war party of thirty Indians, bearing a scalp as a trophy. 
A little liquor procured the spectacle of a war-dance. A large 
space was cleared, and a fire made in the centre, round which the 
warriors took their seats. The principal orator made a speech, 
reciting their recent exploits, and rousing them to triumph. One 
of the warriors started up as if from sleep, and began a series of 
movements, half-grotesque, half-tragical ; the rest followed. For 
music, one savage drummed on a deerskin, stretched over a pot 
half filled with water ; another rattled a gourd, containing a few 
shot, and decorated with a horse's taiL Their strange outcries, 
and uncouth forms and garbs, seen by the glare of the fire, and 
their whoops and yells, made them appear more like demons than 
human bemgs. All this savage gambol was no novelty to Wash- 
ington's companions, experienced in frontier life; but to the 
youth, fresh firom school, it was a strange spectacle, which he sat 
contemplating with deep interest, and carefully noted down in his 
journal. It will be found that he soon made himself acquainted 
with the savage character, and became expert at dealing with these 
inhabitants of the wilderness. 

From this encampment the party proceeded to the mouth of 
Patterson's Greek, where they reorossed the river in a canoe, 
swimming their horses as before. More than two weeks were 
now passed by them in the wild mountainous regions of Frederick 
County, and about the south branch of the Potomac, surveying 

1748.] OAMPIKa OUT. 39 

lands and laying out lots, camped oat the greater part of the 
time, and subsisting on wild turkeys and other game. Each one 
was his own oook ; forked sticks served for spits, and chips of 
wood for dishes. The weather was unsettled. At one time their 
tent was blown down ; at another they were driven out of it by 
smoke; now they were drenched with rain, and now the straw on 
which Washington was sleeping caught fire, and he was awakened 
by a companion just in time to escape a scorching. 

The only variety to this camp life was a supper at the house 
of one Solomon Hedge, Esquire, his majesty's justice of the 
peace, where there were no forks at table, nor any knives, but such 
as the guests brought in their pockets. During their surveys 
they were followed by numbers of people, some of them squatters, 
anxious, doubtless, to procure a cheap title to the land they had 
appropriated; others, (Jerman emigrants, with their wives and 
children, seeking a new home in the wilderness. Most of the 
latter could not speak English ; but when spoken to, answered in 
their native tongue. They appeared to Washington ignorant as 
Indians, and uncouth, but *< merry, and full of antic tricks." 
Such were the progenitors of the sturdy yeomanry now inhabit- 
ing those parts, many of whom still preserve their strong Qerman 

'^ I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed," writes 
Washington to one of his young friends at home, '^ but after walk- 
ing a good deal all the day I have lain down before the fire upon 
a little straw or fodder, or a bear skin, whichever was to be had, 
with man, wife, and children, like dogs and cats; and happy is he 
who gets the berth nearest the fire." 

Having completed his surveys, he set forth firom the south 
branch of the Potomac on his return homeward ; crossed the 

40 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [1748-60. 

monntaiDS to the great Oacapehon; traversed the Shenandoah 
valley ; passed through the Blue Ridge, and on the 12th of April 
fonnd himself onoe more at Mount Vernon. For his services he 
received, according to his note-book, a doubloon per day when 
actively employed, and sometimes six pistoles.* * 

The manner in which he had acquitted himself in this arduous 
expedition, and his accounts of the country surveyed, gave great 
satisfaction to Lord Fairfax, who shortly afterwards moved across 
the Blue Bidge, and took up his residence at the place heretofore 
noted as his ** quarters.'^ Here he laid out a manor, containing 
ten thousand acres of arable grazing lands, vast meadows, 
and noble forests, and projected a spacious manor house, giving to 
the place the name of Greenway Court. 

It was probably through the influence of Lord Fairfax that 
Washington received the appointment of public surveyor. This 
conferred authority on his surveys, and entitled them to be re- 
corded in the county offices, and so invariably correct have these 
surveys been found that, to this day, wherever any of them stand 
on record, they receive implicit credit 

For three years he continued in this occupation, which proved 
extremely profitable, £rom the vast extent of oountry to be sur* 
veyed and the very limited number of public surveyors. It made 
him acquainted, also, with the country, the nature of the soil in 
various parts, and the value of localities ; all whidi proved ad- 
vantageous to him in his purchases in after years. Many of the 
finest parts of the Shenandoah valley are yet owned by members 
of the Washington family. 

While thus employed for months at a time surveying tho 

* A putole it $8 60. A doubloon is doable that sum. 

1748-50.] GREENWAY COURT. 41 

lands beyond the Blue Bidge, he was often an inmate of Green> 
way Court. The projected manor house was never even com- 
menced. On a green knoll overshadowed by trees was a long 
stone building one story in height, with dormer windows, two 
wooden belfries, chimneys studded with swallow and martin coops, 
and a roof sloping down in the old Virginia fashion, into low 
projecting eaves that formed a verandah the whole length of the 
house. It was probably the house originally occupied by hia 
steward or land agent, but was now devoted to hospitable pur- 
poses, and the reception of guests. As to his lordship, it was 
one of his many eccentricities, that he never slept in the main 
edifice, but lodged apart in a wooden house not much above 
twelve feet square. In a small building was his office, where 
quitrents were given, deeds drawn, and business transacted with 
his tenants. 

About the knoll were out-houses for his numerous servants, 
black and white, with stables for saddle-horses and hunters, and 
kennels for his hounds, for his lordship retained his keen hunt- 
ing propensities, and the neighborhood abounded in game. 
Indians, half-breeds, and leathern-clad woodsmen loitered about 
the place, and partook of the abundance of the kitchen. His 
lordship's table was plentiful but plain, and served in the English 

Here Washington had full opportunity, in the proper seasons, 
of indulging his fondness for field sports, and once more accom- 
panying his lordship in the chase. The conversation of Lord 
Fairfax, too, was full of interest and instruction to an inex- 
perienced youth, from his cultivated talents, his literary taste, 
and his past intercourse with the best society of 'Europe, and its 
most distinguished authors. He bad brought books, too, with 

42 LITE OF WASHINGTON. [1748-6a 

him into the wilderness, and from Washington's diary we find 
that during his sojourn here he was diligently reading the history 
of England, and the essays of the Spectator. 

Such was* Greenway Court in these its palmy days. We 
visited it recently and found it tottering to its fall, mouldering 
in the midst of a magnificent country, where nature still flourishes 
in full luxuriance and beauty. 

Three or four years were thus passed by Washington, the 
greater part of the time beyond the Blue Ridge, but occasionally 
with his brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. His rugged and 
toilsome expeditions in the mountains, among rude scenes and 
rough people, inured him to hardships, and made him apt at ex- 
pedients ; while his intercourse with his cultivated brother, and 
with the various members of the Fairfax family, had a happy 
effect in toning up his mind and manners, and counteracting the 
careless and self-indulgent habitudes of the wilderness. 



BuRiKa the time of Washington's surveying oampaigns among 
the mountains, a grand colonizing scheme had been set on foot, 
destined to enlist him in hardy enterprises, and in some degree 
to shape the course of his future fortunes. 

The treaty of peace concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle, which had 
put an end to the general war of Europe, had left undefined the 
boundaries between the British and French possessions in Ameri- 
ca; a singular remissness, considering that they had long been a 
subject in dispute, and a cause of frequent conflicts in the colo- 
mes. Immense regions were still claimed by both nations, and 


each was now eager to forestall the other by getting possession of 
them, and strengthening its claim by occupancy. 

The most desirable of these regions lay west of the Allegany 
Mountains, extending from the lakes to the Ohio, and embracing 
the yalley of that river and its tributary streams. An immense 
territory, possessing a salubrious climate, fertile soil, fine hunting 
and fishing grounds, and facilities by lakes and rivers for a vast 
internal commerce. 

The French claimed all this country quite to the Allegany 
mountains by the right of discovery. In 1673, Padre Marquette, 
with his companion, Joliet, of Quebec, both subjects of the crown 
of Franco, had passed down the Mississippi in a canoe quite to 
the Arkansas, thereby, according to an alleged maxim in the law 
of nations, establishing the right of their sovereign, not m^ely to 
the river so discovered and its adjacent lands, but to all the coun- 
try drained by its tributary streams, of which the Ohio was one ; 
a claim, the ramifications of which might be spread, like the 
meshes of a web, over half the continent. 

To this illimitable claim the English opposed a right derived, 
at second hand, from a traditionary Indian conquest. A treaty, 
they said, had been made at Lancaster, in 1744, between com- 
missioners from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and the 
Iroquois, or Six Nations, whereby the latter, for four hundred 
pounds, gave up all right and title to the land west of the Alle- 
gany Mountains, even to the Mississippi, which land, according 
to their traditions^ had been conquered by their forefathers. 

It is undoubtedly true that such a treaty was made, and such 
a pretended transfer of title did take place, under the influence 
.of spirituous liquors; but it is equally true that the Indians in 
question did not, at the time, possess an acre of the land con- 


Teyed ; and that the tribes aotuallj in possession sooffdd at their 
pretensions, and claimed the oonntrj as their own from time 

Such were the shadowy fonndations of claims which the two 
nations were determined to maintain to the uttermost, and which 
ripened into a series of wars, ending in a loss to England of a 
great part of her American possessions, and to France of the 

As yet in the region in qnestion there was not a single white 
settlement. Mixed Iroquois tribes of Delawares, Shawnees, and 
Mingoes, had migrated into it early in the century from the 
French settlements in Canada, and taken up their abodes about 
the Ohio and its branches. The French pretended to hold them 
under their protection; but their allegiance, if ever acknow- 
ledged, had been sapped of late years by the influx of fur traders 
from Pennsylvania. These were often rough, lawless men ; half 
Indians in dress and habits, prone to brawls, and sometimes 
deadly in their feuds. They were generally in the employ of 
some trader, who, at the head of his retainers and a string of 
pack-horses, would make his way over mountains and through 
forests to the banks of the Ohio, establish his head-quarters in 
some Indian town, and disperse his followers to traffic among the 
hamlets, hunting-camps and wigwams, exchanging blankets, gaudy 
colored cloth, trinketry, powder, shot, and rum, fgr valuable furs 
and peltry. In this way a lucrative trade with these western 
tribes was springing up and becombg monopolized by the Penn- 

To secure a participation in this trade, and to gain a foothold 
in this desirable region, became now the wish of some of the most 
tetelUgent and enterprising men of Yirginia and Maryland, 


among whom were Lawrence and Angustine Wadhington. Witb 
these views they projected a scheme, in connection with John 
Hanbury, a wealthy London merchant, to obtain a grant of laud 
from the British govemment, for the purpose of forming settle- 
ments or colonies beyond the Alleganies. Gbyernment readily 
countenanced a scheme by which French encroachments might be 
forestalled, and prompt and quiet possession secured of the great 
Ohio valley. An association was accordingly chartered in 1749, 
by the name of " the Ohio Company," and five hundred thousand 
acres of land was granted to it west of the Alleganies ; between 
the M onongahela and Kanawha rivers ; though part of the land 
might be taken up north of the Ohio, should it be deemed expe- 
dient The company were to pay no quitrent for ten years ; but 
they were to select two fifths of their lands immediately ; to set- 
de one hundred families upon them within seven years ; to build 
a fort at their own expense, and maintain a sufficient garrison in 
it for defence against the Indians. 

Mr. Thomas Lee, president of the council of Virginia, took 
the lead in the concerns of the company at the outset, and by 
many has been considered its founder. On his death, which 
soon took place, Lawrence Washington had the chief manage- 
ment. His enlightened mind and liberal spirit shone forth in his 
earliest arrangements. He wished to form the settlements with 
Germans from Pennsylvania. Being dissenters, however, they 
would be obliged, on becoming residents within the jurisdiction 
of Virginia, to pay parish rates, and maintain a clergyman of the 
Church of England, though they might not understand his lan- 
guage nor relish, his doctrines. Lawrence sought to have them 
exempted from this double tax on purse and conscience. 

<' It has ever been my opinion," said he, " and I hope it ever 


will be, iktkt restraints on oonscienoe are cruel in regard to those 
on whom thej are imposed, and injurious to the country imposing 
than. England, Holland, and Prussia I may quote as examples, 
and much more Pennsylvania, which has flourished under that 
delightful liberty, so as to become the admiration of every man 
who considers the short time it has been settled. • • • • 
This colony (Virginia) was greatly settled in the latter part of 
Charles the First's time, and during the usurpation by the zeal- 
ous churchmen ; and that spirit, which was then brought in, has 
ever since continued ; so that, except a few Quakers, we have no 
dissenters. But what has been the consequence? We have 
increased by slow degrees, whilst our neighboring colonies, whose 
natural advantages are greatly inferior to ours, have become 

Such were the enlightened views of this brother of our Wash- 
ington, to whom the latter owed much of his moral and mental 
training. The company prooeeded to make preparations for their 
colonizing scheme. Qoods were imported from England suited 
to tjie Indian trade, or for presents to the chiefs. Rewards 
were promised to veteran warriors and hunters among the natives 
acquainted with the woods and mountains, for the best route to 
the Ohio. Before the company had received its charter, how- 
ever, the French were in the field. Early in 1749, the Marquis 
de la Galisonniere, Governor of Canada, despatched Celeron de 
Bienville, an intelligent officer, at the head of three hundred 
men, to the banks of the Ohio, to make peace, as he said, between 
^ tribes that had become embroiled with each other during the 
late war, and to renew the French possession of the country. 
Celeron de Bienville distributed presents among the Indians, 


made speeches reminding them of former friendship, and warned 
them not to trade with the English. 

He furthermore nailed leaden plates to trees, and buried 
others in the earth, at the confluence of the Ohio and its tribu- 
taries, bearing inscriptions purporting that all the lands on both 
sides of the rivers to their sources appertained, as in foregone 
times, to the crown of France.* The Indians gazed at these 
mysterious plates with wondering eyes, but surmised their pur- 
port. "They mean to steal our country from us," murmured 
they ; and they determined to seek protection from the English. 

Celeron finding some traders from Pennsylvania traflicking 
among the Indians, he summoned them to depart, and wrote by 
them to James Hamilton, Governor of Pennsylvania, telling him 
the object of his errand to those parts, and his surprise at meeting 
with English traders in a country to which England had no pre- 
tensions; intimating that, in future, any intruders of the kind 
would be rigorously dealt with. 

His letter, and a report of his proceedings on the Ohio, 
roused the solicitude of the governor and council of Pennsylvania, 
for the protection of their Indian trade. Shortly afterwards, one 
Hugh Crawford, who had been trading with the Miami tribes on 
the Wabash, brought a message from them, speaking of the pro- 
mises and threats with which the French were endeavoring to 
shake their faith, but assuring the governor that their friendship 
for the English ^^ would last while the sun and moon ran round 
the world." This message was accompanied by three strings of 
wampum . 

* One of these plates, hearing date August 10, 1749, was found in re- 
cent years at the eoafluenee of the Mnskingnm with the Ohia 


Qoyemor Hamilton knew the value of Indian friendship, and 
suggested to the assembly that it would be better to clinch it 
with presents, and that as soon as possible. An enyoy accord- 
ingly was sent off early in October, who was supposed to have 
great influence among the western tribes. This was one George 
Croghan, a veteran trader, shrewd and sagacious, who had been 
frequently to the Ohio country with pack-horses and follow- 
ers, and made himself popular among the Indians by dispensing 
presents with a lavish hand. He was accompanied by Andrew 
Montour, a Canadian of half Indian descent, who was to act as 
interpreter. They were provided with a small present for the 
onergency ; but were to convoke a meeting of all *he tribes at 
Logstown, on the Ohio, early in the ensuing spring, to receive an 
ample present which would be provided by the assembly. 

It was some time later in the same autumn that the Ohio 
company brought their plans into operation, and despatched an 
agent to explore the lands upon the Ohio and its branches as low 
as the Qreat Falls, take note of their fitness for cultivation, of 
the passes of the mountains, the courses and bearings of the 
rivers, and the strength and disposition of the native tribes. The 
man chosen for the purpose was Ohristopher Oist, a hardy pio- 
neer, experienced in woodcraft and Indian life, who had his home 
on the banks of the Tadkin, near the boundary line of Virginia 
and North Carolina. He was allowed a woodsman or two for the 
service of the expedition. He set out on the 31st of October, 
from the banks of the Potomac, by an Indian path which the 
hunters had pointed out, leading from Wills' Creek, since called 
Cumberland Biver, to the Ohio. Indian paths and buffalo tracks 
are the primitive highways of the wilderness. Passing the Juni- 
ata, he crossed the ridges of the Allegany, arrived at Shannopin, 
Vol. T.— 3 


a Delaware Tillage on the south-east side of the Ohio, or rather 
of that upper branch of it, now called the Allegany, swam his 
horses across that river, and descending along its valley arrived 
at Logstown, an important Indian village a little below the site 
of the present city of Pittsborg. Here usually resided Tana- 
charisson, a Seneca chief of great note, being head sachem of the 
mixed tribes who had migrated to the Ohio and its branches. 
He was generally snmamed the half-king, being subordinate to 
the Iroquois confederacy. The chief was absent at this time, as 
were most of his people, it being the hunting season. George 
Croghan, the envoy from Pennsylvania, with Montour his inter- 
preter, had passed through Logstown a week previously, on his 
way to the Twightwees and other tribes, on the Miami branch of 
the Ohio. Scarce any one was to be seen about the village but 
some of Croghan's rough people, whom he had left behind — 
'' reprobate Indian traders," as Gist terms them. They regarded 
the latter with a jealous eye, suspecting him of some rivalship 
in trade, or designs on the Indian lands ; and intimated signifi- 
cantly that ^^ he would never go home safe." 

Gist knew the meaning of such hints from men of this stamp 
{n the lawless depths of the wilderness ; but quieted their sus- 
picions by letting them know that he was on puUic business, and 
on good terms with their great man, George Oroghan, to whom 
he despatched a letter. He took his departure from Logstown, 
bowever, as soon as posiuble, preferring, as he said, the solitude 
of the wilderness to such company. 

At Beaver Greek, a few miles below the village, he left the 
river an4 struck into the interior of the present State of Ohio. 
Here he overtook Qeorge Oroghan at Muskingum, a town of 
Wyandots and Mingoes. He had ordered all the traders in his 


esa^icfj who were scattered among the Indian villageB, to rally at 
tiiis town, where he had hoisted the English flag oyer his rest- 
dence, and oyer that of the saohem. This was in conseqoenoe 
of the hostility of the French irho had reoentiy captured, in the 
nei^boriiood, Uiree white men in the employ of Fraiier, an 
Indian trader, and had carried ihem away prisoners to Oanada. 

Gist was well receiyed by the people of Mnskingam. They 
were indignant at the French yiolation of their territories, and 
the capture of their '^ English brothers." They had not forgotten 
the eondnot of Oeleron de Biooyille in the preyions year, and the 
mysterious plates which he had nailed against trees and sunk in 
tiie ground. ^ If the French claim the riyers which run into the 
lakes," said they, '^ those which run into the Ohio belong to us 
and to our brothers the English." And they were anxious that 
GKst should settle among them, and build a fort for their mutual 

A council of the nation was now held, in which Oist inyited 
them, in the name of the Gk>yemor of Virginia, to yisit that 
proyince, where a large present of goods awaited them, sent by 
their fiKther, the great king, oyer the water to his Ohio children. 
The inyitation was graciously receiyed, but no answer could be 
giyen until a grand council of the western tribes had been held, 
which was to take place at Logstown in the ensuing spring. 

Similar results attended yisits made by Oist and Oroghan to 
the I>elawares and the Shawnees at their yillages about the 
Scioto Biyer; all promised to be at the gathering at Logstown. 
From the Shawnee yillage, near the mouth of the Scioto, the two 
emissaries shaped their course north two hundred miles, crossed 
the Great Moneami, or Miami Biyer, on a raft, swimming their 
horses ; and on the 17th of February arriyed at the Indian town 
of Piqua. 


These jonrneyings had carried Gist about a wide ezt^oit of 
country beyond the Ohio. It was rich and level, watered witii 
streams and rivulets, and clad with noble forests of hickory, wal- 
nut, ash, poplar, sugar-maple, and wild cherry trees. Occasion- 
ally there were spacious plains coyered with wild rye; natural 
meadows, with blue grass and clover ; and buffiiloes, thirty and 
forty at a time, grazing on them as in a cultivated pasture. 
Deer, elk, and wild turkeys abounded. " Nothing is wanted but 
cultivation," said Oist, '^ to make this a most delightful country." 
Cultivation has since proved the truth of his words. The country 
thus described is the present State of Ohio. 

Piqua, where Oist and Groghan had arrived, was the princi- 
pal town of the Twightwees or Miamis ; the most powerful con- 
federacy of the West, combining four tribes, and extending its 
influence even beyond the Mississippi A king or sachem of one 
or other of the different tribes presided over the whole. The 
head chief at present was the king of the Piankeshas. 

At this town Groghan formed a treaty of alliance in the name 
of the Gi)vemor of Pennsylvania with two of the Miami tribes. 
And Oist was promised by the king of the Piankeshas that the 
chiefe of the various tribes would attend the meeting at Logstown 
to make a treaty with Virginia. 

In the height of these demonstrations of friendship, two Otta- 
was entered the council-house, announcing themselves as envoys 
from the French (Governor of Canada to seek a renewal of ancient 
alliance. They were received with all due ceremonial ; for none 
are more ceremonious than the Indians. The French colors were 
set up beside the English, and the ambassadors opened their mis- 
sion. ^' Your father, the French king," said they, '^ remembering 
his children on the Ohio, has sent them these two kegs of milk," 


here, with great solemnity, they deposited two kegs of brandy,-^ 
^ and this tobacco ; " — here they deposited a roll ten pounds in 
weight. '< He has made a clean road for you to come and see him 
and his officers ; and urges you to come, assuring you that all 
past differences will be forgotten." 

The Piankesha chief replied in the same figurative style. 
<< It is true our father has sent for us seyeral times, and has said 
the road was dear ; but I understand it is not dear — ^it is foul 
and bloody, and the French have made it so. We haye deared a 
road for our brothers, the English; the French have made it 
bad, and haye taken some of our brothers priscmers. This we 
consider as done to ourselyes." So saying, he turned his back 
upon the ambassadors, and stalked out of the council-house. 

In the end the ambassadors were assured that the tribes of 
the Ohio and the Six Nations were hand in hand with their 
brothers, the English; and should war ensue with the French, 
they were ready to meet it. 

So the French colors were taken down; the ''kegs of milk" 
and roll of tobacco were rejected; the grand council broke up 
with a war-dance, and the ambassadors departed, weeping and 
howling, and predicting ruin to the Miamis. 

When Gist returned to the Shawnee town, near the mouth of 
the Scioto, and reported to his Indian friends there the alliance 
he had formed with the Miami confederacy, there was great feast> 
ing and speech-making, and firing of guns. He had now happily 
accomplished the chief object of his mission — ^nothing remained 
but to descend the Ohio to the Great Falls. This, however, he 
was cautioned not to do. A large party of Indians, allies of 
the French, were hunting in that neighborhood, who might kill 
or capture him. He crossed the riyer, attended only by a lad as 


a travelling oompanion and aid, and proceeded cautiooslj down 
the east side until within fifteen miles of the Falls. Here he 
came npon traps newly set, and Indian footprints not a day old; 
and heard the distant report of gana The storj of Indian 
hunters then was true. He was in a dangerous neighborhood. 
The savages might come upon the tracks of his horses, or hear 
the bells put about their necks, when turned loose in the wilder^ 
nessto grase. 

Abandoning all idea, therefore, of visiting the Falls, and con- 
tenting himself with the information concerning them which he 
had received from others, he shipped his course on the 18th of 
Murch for the Guttawa, or Kentiicky Bivw. From the top of a 
mountain in the vicinity he had a view to the southwest as far as 
the eye codd reach, over a vast woodland country in the fresh 
garniture of spring, and watered by abundant streams; but as 
yet only the hunting-ground of savage tribes, and the scene of 
their sanguinary combats. In a word, Kentucky lay spread out 
before him in all its wild magnificence ; long before it was beheld 
by Daniel Boone. 

For six weeks was this hardy pioneer making his toilful way 
up the valley of the Cuttawa, or Kentucl^ River, to the banks of 
the Blue Stone; often checked by precipices, and obliged to seek 
fords at the heads of tributary streams ; and happy when he could 
find a bufblo path broken tfirough the tangled forests, or worn 
into the everlasting rocks. 

On the 1st of May he climbed a rook sixty feet high, crown- 
ing a lofty mountain, and had a xfistant view of the great Kan- 
awha, breaking its way through a vast sierra ; crossing that river 
on a raft of his own construction, he had many more weary days 
before him, before he reached his frontier abode on the banks of 


die Tadkin. He arrired there in the latter part of May, but 
there was no one to weloome the wanderer home. There had been 
an Indian massacre in the neighbinrhood, and he found his hoose 
silent and deserted. His heart *sank within him, until an old 
man whom he met near the place assured him his family were 
safe, having fled for refuge to a settlement thirty-fiye miles of^ on 
ate banks of the Roanoke. There he rejoined them <m the fol- 
lowing day. 

While Gist had been making his painfdl way homeward, the 
two Ottawa ambassadors had returned to Fort Sandusky, bringing 
word to the French that their flag had been strujok in the ooun- 
eil-house at Piqua, and their friendship rejected and their hos- 
tility defied by the Miamis. They informed them also of the 
gathering of the western tribes that was to take place at Logs- 
town, to conclude a trealy with the Virginians. 

It was a great object with the French to prevent this treaty, 
and to spirit up the Ohio Indians against the English. This they 
hoped to effect through the agency of one Captain Joncaire, a 
feteran diplomatist of the wilderness, whose charact^ and story 
deserve a passing notice. 

He had been taken prisoner when quite young by the Iro- 
quois, and adopted into one of their tribes. This was the making 
cf his fortuna He had grown up among them, acquired their 
language, adapted himself to their habits, and was considered by 
them as one of themselves. On returning to civilized life he be- 
came a prime instrument in the hands of the Canadian govern- 
ment, for managing and cajoling the Indians. Sometimes he was 
an ambassador to the Iroquois; sometimes a mediator between 
the jarring tribes ; sometimes a leader of their warriors when 
employed hy the French. When in 1728 the Delawares and 


Sliawnees migrated to the banks of the OHio, Jonoaire was the 
agent who followed them, and prevailed on them to conmder them- 
selves under French protection. When the French wanted to 
get a commanding site for a post on the Iroquois lands, near 
Niagara, Jonoaire was the man to manage it. He craved a situa- 
tion where he might put up a wigwam, and dwell among his Iro- 
quois bretiiren. It was granted of course, '^ for was he not a son 
of the tribe— was he not one of themselves ? '' By degrees his 
wigwam grew into an important trading post ; ultimately it be- 
came Fort Niagara. Years and years had elapsed; he had 
grown gray in Indian diplomacy, and was now sent once more to 
maintain French sovereignty over the valley of the Ohio. 

He appeared at Logstown accompanied by another French- 
man, and forty Iroquois warriors. He found an assemblage of 
the western tribes, feasting and rejoicing, and firing of guns, for 
George Oroghan and Montour the interpreter were there, and had 
been distributing presents on behalf of the Qovemor of Pennsyl- 

Jonoaire was said to have the wit of a Frenchman, and the 
eloquence of an Iroquois. He made an animated speech to the 
chiefs in their own tongue, the gist of which was that their fstther 
Onontio (that is to say, the Governor of Canada) desired his 
children of the Ohio to turn away the Indian traders, and never 
to deal with them again on pain of his displeasure ; so saying, he 
laid down a wampum belt of uncommon size, by way of emphasis 
to his message. 

For once his eloquence was of no avail ; a chief rose indig- 
nantly, shook his finger in his face, and stamping on the ground, 
" This is our land," said he. " What right has Onontio here ? 
The English are our brothers. They shall live among us as long 


88 one of ns is aliye. We will trade with them, and not with 
yon; ^ and so saying he rejected the belt of wampnm. 

Joncaire retomed to an adyanced post recently established on 
the npper part of the riyer, whence he wrote to the Gtovemor of 
Pennsylyania: <* The Marqnis de la Jonquiere, (Governor of New 
Franoe, haying ordered me to watch that the English make no 
treaty in the Ohio conntry, I haye signified to the traders of yonr 
goyemment to retire. Ton are not ignorant that all these lands 
belong to the King of France, and that the English haye no right 
to trade in them." He concluded by reiterating the threat made 
two years preyiously by Celeron de Bienyille against all intruding 
for traders. 

In the mean time, in the face of all these protests and me- 
naces, Mr. Gist, under sanction of the Virginia Legislature, pro- 
ceeded in the same year to suryey the lands within the grant of 
the Ohio company, lying on the south side of the Ohio riyer, as 
hr down as the great Kanawha. An old Delaware sachem, meet- 
ing him while thus employed, propounded a somewhat puzzling 
question. '^ The French," said he, ^^ claim all the land on one 
side of the Ohio, the English claim all the land on the other side 
— now where does the Indians' land He ? ^ 

Poor sayagesi Between their '^fathers," the French, and 
their " brothers," the English, they were in a fair way of being 
most loyingly shared out of the whole country. 

Vol. I.— 3* 





Thb French now prepared for hostile contingenoies. They 
launched an armed vessel of unusual size on Lake Ontario ; for- 
tified their trading house at Niagara; strengthened their outposts, 
and advanced others on the upper waters of the Ohio. A stir of 
warlike preparation was likewise to be observed among the 
British colonies. It was evident that the adverse claims to the 
disputed territorieS| if pushed home, could only be settled by the 
stem arbitrament of the sword. 

In Virginia, especially, the war spirit was manifest The 
province was divided into nulitaiy districts, each having an adju- 
tant-general, with the rank of major, and the pay of one hun- 
dred and fifty pounds a year, whose duty was to attend to the 
organization and equipment of the militia. 

Such an appointment was sought by Lawrence Washington 


for his brother George. It shows what most haye been the mata- 
fitj of mind of the latter, and the ocmfidenoe inspired by his 
judicious oondoot and aptness for bnconess, that the post shoohi 
not only be sought for him, but readily obtained; thon^ he was 
yet but nineteen years of age. He proved himself worthy of the 

He now set abont preparing himself with his usual method 
and assiduity, for his new duties. Virginia had among its float- 
ing papulation some military relics of the late Spanish war. 
Among these was a certain Adjutant Muse, a Westmoreland 
Tolunteer, who had served with Lawrence Washington in the cam- 
paigns in the West Indies, and had been with him in the attack on 
Oarthagena. He now undertook to instruct his brother Qeorge 
in the art of war; lent him treatises on military tactics; put him 
through the numual exercise, and gave him some idea of eyolu- 
tions in the field. Another of Lawrence^s campaigning comrades 
was Jacob Yan Braam, a Dutchman by birth ; a soldier of fortune 
of the Dalgetty order; who had been in the British army, but 
was now out of service, and, professing to be a complete master 
of fence, recruited his slender purse in this time of military ex- 
citement, by giving the Virginian youth lessons in the sword 

Undar the instructions of these veterans Mount Vernon, from 
being a quiet rural retreat, where Washington, three years pre- 
viousty, had indited love ditties to his " lowland beauty," was 
suddenly transformed into a school of arms, as he practised the 
manual exercise with Adjutant Muse, or took lessons on the 
broadsword from Van Braam. 

His martial studies, however, were interrupted for a time by 
the critical state of his brother's health. The constitution of 



Lawrence had always been delicate, and he had been obliged lo* 
peatedlj to travel for a change of air. There were now pnlmo* 
naiy Bymptoms of a threatening nature, and by advice of his phy* 
sicians he determined to pass a winter in the West Indies, taking 
with him his favorite brother George as a companion. 

They accordingly sailed for Barbadoes on the 28th of Septem- 
ber, 1751. George kept a journal of the voyage with logbook 
brevity; recording the wind and weather, but no events worth 
citation. They landed at Barbadoes on the 3d of November. 
The resident physician of the place gave a favorable report of 
Lawrence's case, and held out hopes of a cure. The brothers 
were delighted with the aspect of the country, as they drove out 
in the cool of the evening, and beheld on all sides fields of sugar 
cane, and Lidian com, and groves of tropical trees, in full fruit 
and foliage. 

They took up their abode at a house pleasantly situated about 
a mile from town, commanding an extensive prospect of sea and 
land, including Garlyle bay and its shipping, and belonging to 
Captain Crofton, commander of James Fort. 

Barbadoes had its theatre, at which Washington witnessed 
for the first time a dramatic representation, a species of amuse- 
ment of which he afterwards became fond. It was in the pres- 
ent instance the doleful tragedy of George BamwelL " The 
character of Barnwell, and several others," notes he in hier jour- 
nal, " were said to be well performed. There was music adapted 
and regularly conducted." A safe but abstemious criticisnL 

Among the hospitalities of the place the brothers were invited 
to the house of a Judge Maynards, to dine with an association of 
the first people of the place, who met at each other^s house alter* 
nately every Saturday, under the incontestably English title of 

1761.] 8CBNES AT BARBAD0S8. 61 

<<The Bee&te&k and Tripe Olub." Washington notes with 
admiration the profusion of tropical fruits with which the table 
was loaded, <<the granadilla, sapadella, pomegranate, sweet 
orange, water-lemon, forbidden firoit, and goava." The homely 
prosaic beefsteak and tripe must haye contrasted strangely, 
thon^ sturdily, with these magnificent poetical fruits of the 
tropics. But John BuU is fstithful to his native habits and na- 
tiye dishes, whateyer may be the country or dime, and would set 
up a chop-house at the very gates of paradise. 

The brothers had scarcely been a fortnight at the island when 
George was taken down by a severe attack of small-pox. Skil- 
ful medical treatment, with the kind attentions of friends, and 
especially of his brother, restored him to health in about three 
weeks ; but his face always remained slightly marked. 

After his recovery he made excursions about the island, no- 
ticing its soil, productions, fortifications, public works, and the 
manners of its inhabitants. While admiring the productiveness 
of the sugar plantations, he was shocked at the spendthrift habits 
of the planters, and their utter want of management. 

*^ How wonderful,'' writes he, ^^ that such people should be 
in debt, and not be able to indulge themselves in all the luxuries, 
as well as the necessaries of life. Yet so it happens. Estates 
are often alienated for debts. How persons coming to estates of 
two, three, and four hundred acres can want, is to me most won- 
devfuL*' How much does this wonder speak for his own scrupu- 
lous principle of always living within compass. 

The residence at Barbadoes failed to have the anticipated 
effect on the health of Lawrence, and he determined to seek the 
sweet climate of Bermuda in the spring. He felt the absence 
from his wife, and it was arranged that George should return to 


Yirginia, and bring her out to meet him at that island. Accord- 
ingly, on the 22d of December, George set sail in the Industry, 
boond to Virginia, where he arrived on ike 1st Febraarj, 1752, 
after five weeks of stormy winter seafaring. 

Lawrence remained through the winter at Barbadoes; but 
the very mildness of the climate relaxed and enerrated him. He 
felt tiie want of the bracing winter weather to which he had been 
accustomed. Even the invariable beauty of the climate; the 
perpetual summer, wearied the restless invalid. "This is the 
finest island of the West Indies," sud he ; ^^ but I own no place 
can please me without a change of seasons. We soon tire of the 
same prospect" A consolatory truth for the inhabitants of more 
capricious climes. 

Still some of the worst symptoms of his disorder had disap- 
peared, and he seemed to be slowly recovering ; but the nervous 
restlessness and desire of change, often incidental to his malady, 
had taken hold of him, and early In March he hastened to Ber- 
muda. He had come too soon. The ke^ air of early spring 
brought on -an aggravated return of his worst symptom& " I 
have now got to my last refuge," writes he to a firiend, " where I 
must receive my final sentence, which at present Dr. Forbes will 
not pronounce. He leaves me, however, I think, like a criminal 
condemned, though not without hopes of reprieve. But this I 
am to obtain by meritoriously abstaining from flesh of every sort, 
all strong liquors, and by riding as much as I can bear. These 
are the only terms on which I am to hope for life." 

He was now afflicted with painful indecision, and his letters 
perplexed his family, leaving them uncertain as to his move- 
ments, and at a loss how to act. At one time he talked of re- 
maining a year at Bermuda, and wrote to his wife to come out 


with George and rejoin him there; but the yery same letter 
shows his irresolution and onoertaintj, for he leaves her coming 
to the decision of herself and friends. As to his own movements, 
he says, "Six weeks will determine me what to resolve on. 
Forbes advises the south of France, or else Barbadoes." The 
very next letter, written shortly afl^rwards in a moment of de- 
spond^oy, talks of the possibility of " harrying home to his 
grave I " 

The last was no empty foreboding. He did indeed hasten 
back, and just reached Momit Yemen in time to die under his 
own roof, surrounded by his family and friends, and attended in 
his last moments by that brother on whose manly affection his 
heart seemed to repose. His death took place on the 26th July, 
1752, when but thirty-four years of age. He was a noble-spirit- 
ed, pure-minded, accomplished gentleman ; honored by the public, 
and beloved by his friends. The paternal care ever manifested 
by him for his youthful brother, George, and the influence his 
own character and conduct must have had upon him in his ductile 
years, should link their memories together in history, and endear 
the name of Lawrence Washington to every American. 

Lawrence left a wife and an infant daughter to inherit his 
ample estates. Li case his daughter should die without issue, the 
estate of Mount Yemen, and other lands specified in hb will, 
were to be enjoyed by her mother during her lifetime, and at 
her death to be inherited by his brother George. The latter was 
appointed one of the executors of the will ; but such was the im- 
plicit confidence reposed in his judgment and integrity, that, 
although he was but twenty years of age, the management of the 
affairs of the deceased were soon devolved upon him almost 
entirely. It is needless to say that they were managed with con- 
summate skill and scrupulous fidelity. 



Thb meeting of the Ohio tribes, Delawares, Shawnees, and Mia- 
goes, to form a treaty of alliance with Virginia, took place at 
Logstown, at the appointed time. The chiefs of the Six Nations 
declined to attend. '* It is not onr custom," said they proudly, 
" to meet to treat of affairs in the woods and weeds. If the 
(Governor of Virginia wants to speak with us, and deliver us a 
|)resent from our father (the King), we will meet him at Albany, 
where we expect the Governor of New York will be present." • 

At Logstown, Colonel Fry and two other commissioners from 
Virginia, concluded a treaty with the tribes above named ; by 

* Letter of CoL Johnson to Gov. Clinton.— Doc Hist N. Y. ii., 624. 


which the latter engaged not to molest any EngHah settlen south 
of the Ohio. Tanaoharisson, the half-king, now adyised that his 
brothers of Yirginia should build a strong house at the fork of 
the Monongahela, to rebist the designs of the Fr^oh. Mr. Gist 
was accordingly instructed to lay out a town and build a fort at 
Chartier's Creek, on the east side of the Ohio, a little below the 
site of the present city of Pittsburg. He commenced a settle- 
ment, also, in a valley just beyond Laurel Hill, not far from the 
Youghiogeny, and prevailed on eleven fiunilies to join him. The 
Ohio Company, about the same time, established a trading post, 
well stocked with English goods, at Wills' Creek (now Cumber- 
knd Biver). 

The Ohio tribes were greatly incensed at the aggressions of 
the French, who were erecting posts within their territories, and 
sent deputations to remonstrate, but without effect. The half- 
king, as chief of the western tribes, repaired to the French post 
on Lake Erie, where he made his complaint in person. 

'< Fathers," said he, '' you are the disturbers of this land by 
building towns, and taking the country from us by fraud and 
force. We kindled a fire a long time since at Montreal, where 
we desired you to stay and not to come and intrude upon our 
land. I now advise you to return to that place, for this land is 

'^ If you had come in a peaceable manner, like our brothers 
the English, we should have traded with you as we do with them ; 
but that you should come and build houses on our land, and take 
it by force, is what we cannot submit to. Both you and the 
English are white. We live in a country between you both ; the 
land belongs to neither of you. The Great Being allotted it to 
us as a residence. So, fathers, I desire you, as I have desired 

66 ura or washzngion. [1753 

oar brothers the Englivh, to withdraw, for I will keep yoa both 
at arm's length. Whichever most regards this request, that side 
will we stand bj and consider friends. Oar brothers the English 
have heard this, and I now come to tell it to you, for I am not* 
afrud to order you off this land." 

" Child," replied the French commandant, << you talk foolish- 
ly. Yea say this land belongs to yoa ; there is not the black of 
my nail years. It is my land, and I will have it, let who will 
stand up against me. I am not afraid of flies and mosqaitoes, 
for as saoh I consider the Indians. I tell yoa that down the 
riyer I will go, and baild apon it. If it were blocked up I have 
forces sofGlcient to barst it open and trample down all who oppose 
me. My force is as the sand apon the sea-shore. Therefore 
here is year wampam ; I fling it at you." 

Tanacharisson retomed, woanded at heart, both by the Ian- 
gaage and the haaghty manner of the French commandant. He 
saw the rain impending oyer his race, bat looked with hope and 
trnst to the English as the power lea«t disposed to wrong the red 

French inflaence was saccessfol in other quarters. Some of 
the Indians who had been friendly to the English showed signs 
of alienation. Others menaced hostilities* There were reports 
that the French were ascending the Mississippi from Louisiana. 
France, it was said, intended to connect Louisiana and Canada 
by a chain of military posts, and hem the English within the 
Allegany Mountains. 

The Ohio Company complained loudly to the Lieutenant- 
Gbvemor of Virginia, the Hon. Robert Dinwiddle, of the hostile 
conduct of the French and their Indian allies. They found in 
Dinwiddle a ready listener; he was a stockholder in the com- 


A commissioiier, Captain William TrttLt, was seoi to ezporta- 
late with the French commander on the Ohio for his aggressions 
on the territory of his Britannio majesty; he hsae presents also 
of gons, powder, shot, and clothing for the firiendly Indians. 

Tr^t was not a man of the true sinrit for a mission to the 
frontier. He stopped a short time at Logstown, though the French 
were one hundred and fifty miles farther rxp the river, and direct- 
ed his oonrse to Piqua, the great town of the Twi^twees, where 
Gist and Oroghan had been so well reoeived by the Miamis, and 
the Frendi flag struck in the council house. All now was re- 
versed. The place had been attacked by the Frendi and Indians ; 
the Miamis defeated with great loss ; the Bnglish traders taken 
prisoners; the Piankesha chief, who had so proudly turned his 
ba<^ upon the Ottawa ambassadors, had been sacrificed by the 
hostile savages, and the French flag hoisted in triumph on the ruins 
of the town. The whole aspect of afi&urs was so threatoiing on 
the frontieri that Trent lost heart, and returned home without 
accompliidiing his errand. 

Gtovemor Diuwiddie now looked round for a person more 
fitted to fulfil a mission which required physical strength and 
moral enei^; a courage to cope wiUi savages, and a sagacity to 
negotiate with white men. Washington was pointed out as pos- 
sessed of those requisites. It is true he was not yet twenty-two 
years of age, but public confidence in his judgment and abilities 
had been manifested a second time, by renewing his appointment 
of adjutant-general, and assigning him the northern division. 
He was aequamted too with the matters in litigation, havbg been 
in the bosom councils of his deceased brother. His woodland 
expenenoe fitted him for an expedition through the wilderness ; 
and his great discretion and self-command for a negotiation with 


wily oommandera and fickle savages. He was aooordingly chosen 
for the expedition. 

By his letter of instructions he was directed to repair to 
Logstown, and hold a commnnication with Tanacharisson, Mona- 
catoocha, alias Scarooyadi, the next in command, and the other 
sachems of the mixed tribes friendly to the English; inform 
them of the purport of his errand, and request an escort to the 
. head-quarters of the Frendi commander. To that commander 
he was to deliyer his credentials, and the letter of Qovernor 
Dinwiddle, and demand an answer in the name of his Britannic 
majesty ; hut not to wait for it beyond a week. On receiying it^ 
he was to request a sufficient escort to protect him on his return. 

He was, moreoyer, to acquaint himself with the numbers and 
force of the French stationed on the Ohio and in its vicinity ; 
their capability of being reinforced from Canada; the forts they 
had erected ; where situated, how garrisoned ; the object of their 
advancing into those parts, and how they were likely to be sup- 

Washington set off from Williamsburg on the 30th of October 
(1753), the very day on which he received his credentials. At 
Fredericksburg he engaged his old ^master of fence," Jacob 
Yan Braam, to accompany him as interpreter; thou^ it would 
appear from subsequent circumstances, that the veteran swords- 
man was but indifferently versed either in French or English. 

Having provided himself at Alexandria with necessaries for 
the journey, he proceeded to Winchester, then on the frontier, 
where he procured horses, tents, and other travelling equipments, 
and then pushed on by a road newly opened to Wills' Greek 
(Oumberland Biver), where he arrived on the 14th of November. 

Here he met with Mr. Gist^ the intrepid pioneer, who had ex- 


plored the Ohio in the employ of the oompany, and whom he en- 
gaged to accompany and pilot him in the present expedition. 
He secored the services also of one John Davidson as Indian 
interpreter, and of fonr frontiersmen, two of whom were Indian 
traders. With this little band, and his swordsman and in- 
terpreter, Jacob Yan Braam, he set forth on the 15th of Novem- 
ber, throng a wild country, rendered almost impassable by recent 
storms of rain and snow. 

At the month of Tortle Greek, on the Monongahela, he found 
John Frasier the Indian trader, some of whose people, as here- 
tofore stated, had been sent off prisoners to Canada. Frailer 
himself had recently been ejected by the French from the Indian 
village of Yenango, where he had a gunsmith's establishment. 
According to his account the French general who had commanded 
on this frontier was dead, and the greater part of the forces were 
retired into winter quarters. 

As the rivers were all swollen so that the horses had to swim 
them, Washington sent all the baggage down the Monongahela 
hi a canoe under care of two of the men, who had orders to meet 
him at the confluence of that river with the Allegany, where 
their united waters form the Ohio. 

" As I got down before the canoe," writes he in his journal, 
'' I spent some time in viewing the rivers, and the land at the 
Fork, which I think extremely well situated for a fort, as it has 
the absolute command of both rivers. The land at the point is 
twenty or twenty-five feet above the common sur&ce of the water, 
and a considerable bottom of flat, well timbered land all around 
it, very convenient for building. The rivers are each a quarter 
of a mile or more across, and run here very nearly at right 
angles; Allegany bearing north-east, and Monongahela south- 


east The farmer of these two is a yery rapid and swifb-numing 
water, the other deep and still, without any perceptible falL" 
The Ohio company had intended to build a fort about two miles 
from this place, on the south-east side of the river; but Washing- 
ton gave the fork the decided preference. French engineers of 
experience proved the accuracy of his military eye, by subse- 
quently choosing it for the site of Fort Duquesne, noted in fron- 
tier histoiy. 

In this neighborhood lived Shingiss, the king or chief sachem 
of the Belawares. Washington visited him at his village, to in^ 
vite him to the council at Logstown. He was one of the greatest 
warriors of his tribe, and subsequenldy took up the hatchet at 

C'ous times against the English, though now he seemed fiftvor- 
j disposed, and readily accepted the invitation. 

They arrived at Logstown after sunset on the 24th of Novem- 
ber. The half-king was absent at his hunting lodge on Beaver 
Creek, about fifteen miles distant ; but Washington had runners 
sent out to invite him and all the other chiefs to a grand talk on 
the following day. 

In the morning four French deserters came into the village. 
They had deserted from a company of one hundred men, sent up 
^from New Orleans with eight canoes laden with provisions. 
Washington drew from them an account of the French force at 
New Orleans, and of the forts along the Mississippi, and at the 
moutii of the Wabash, by which they kept up a communication 
with the lakes ; all which he carefully noted down. The deserters 
were on their way to Philadelphia, conducted by a Pennsylvania 

About three o'clock the half-king arrived. Washington had 
a private conversation with him in his tent, through Davidson, 


the interpreter. He found him intelligent, patriotio, and prondlj 
tenacious of his territorial rights. We have already cited firom 
Washington's papers, the account given by this diief in ibii oon- 
yersation, of his interview with the late French commander. He 
stated, moreover, tiiat the Fr^ch had boilt two forts, <1iflftring in 
site, bat on the same model, a plan of which he gave, of his own 
drawing. The largest was on Lake Erie, the other on Frendi 
Greek, fifteen miles apart, with a waggon road between ihem. The 
nearest and loveliest way to them was now impassable, lying throng 
large and miry savannas; they would have, therefore, to go by 
Venango, and it would take five or six sleeps (or days) of good 
travelling to reach the nearest fort. 

On the following morning at nine o'clock, the chie& assembled 
at the council house; where Washington, according to his instruc- 
tions, informed them that he was sent by their brother, the Gov- 
ernor of Virginia, to deliver to the Frendi commandant a letter 
of great importance, both to their brothers the English and to 
themselves; and that he was to ask their advice and assistance, 
and some of their young men to accompany and provide for him 
on the way, and be his safeguard against the '< Frendi Indians " 
who had taken up the hatchet He conduded by presenting the 
mdispei^ble document in Indian diplomacy a string of wampum. 

The chiefo, according to etiquette, sat for some moments 
mlent after he had concluded, as if ruminating on what had been 
said, or to give him time for further remark. 

The half-king then rose and spoke in behalf of the tribes, as- 
suring him that they considered the English and themselves 
brothers, and one people; and that they intended to return the 
French the ^' speech-belts," or wampums, whidi the latter had 
seAt them. This, in Indian diplomacy, is a renundation of all 


friendly relations. An escort would be famished to Washington 
composed of Mingoes, Shannoahs, and Belawares, in token of the 
love and loyalty of those sereral tribes ; but three days would 
be required to prepare for the journey. 

Washington remonstrated against such delay; but was in- 
formed, that an affair of such moment, where three speech-belts 
were to be given up, was not to be entered into without due con* 
sideration. Besides, the young men who were to form the escort 
were absent hunting, and the half-king could not suffer the party 
to go without sufficient protection. His own French speech-belt, 
also, was at his hunting lodge, where he must go in quest of it. 
Moreover, the Shannoah chiefs were yet absent and must be waited 
for. In short, Washington had his first lesson in Indian 
diplomacy, which for punctilio, ceremonial, and secret manoeuy- 
ring, is equal at least to that of civilized life. He soon found that 
to urge a more speedy departure would be offensive to Indian 
dignity and decorum, so he was fain to await the gathering to- 
gether of the different chiefe with their speech-belts. 

In fact there was some reason for all this caution. Tidings 
had reached the sachems that Captaia Joncaire had called a meet- 
ing at Yenango, of the Mingoes, Belawares, and other tribes, and 
made them a speech, informing them that the French, for the 
present, had gone into winter quarters, but intended to descend 
the river in great force, and fight the English in the spring. 
He had advised them, therefore, to stand aloof, for should they 
interfere, the French and English would join, cut them all off, 
and divide their land between them. 

With these rumors preying on their minds, the half-king and 
three other chiefs waited on Washington in his tent in the even- 
ing, and after representing that they had complied with all the 

1708.] THE SAOHEHa 73 

reqiiifiitions of the Goyernor of Yirginia, endeavored to draw 
from the jouthftil ambassador the true purport of his mission to 
the French commandant. Washington had anticipated an in- 
quiry of the kind, knowing how natural it was that these poor 
people should regard, with anxiety and distrust, every movement 
of two formidable powers thus pressing upon them from opposite 
sides; l^e managed, however, to answer them in such a manner as 
to allay their solicitude without transcending the bounds of diplo- 
matic secrecy. 

After a day or two more of delay and further consultations 
in the council house, the chiefis determined that but three of their 
number should accompany the mission, as a greater number might 
awaken the suspicions of the French. AcoordiDgly, on the 30th 
of November, Washington set out for the French post, having his 
usual party augmented by an Indian hunter, and being accom- 
panied by the half-king, an old Shannoah sachem named Jes- 
kakake, and another chief, sometimes called Belt of Wampum, 
from being the keeper of the speech-belts, but generally bearing 
the sounding appellation of White Thunder. 

Vol. L— 4 



Although the distance to Venango, by the route taken, was not 
above seventy miles, yet such was the inclemency of the weather 
and the difficulty of travelling, that Washington and his party did 
not arrive there until the 4th of Deoember. The French colors 
were flying at a house whence John Frazier, the English trader, 
had been driven. Washington repaired thither, and inquired of 
three French officers whom he saw there where the commandant 
resided. One of them promptly replied that he '^ had the com- 
mand of the Ohio." It was, in &ct, the redoubtable Captain 
Joncaire, the veteran intriguer of the frontier. On being ap- 
prised, however, of the nature of Washington's errand, he 
informed him that there was a general officer at the next fort, 
where he advised him to apply for an answer to the letter of 
wbioh he w^ ^e bevrer. 


In the mean time, he invited Washington and his party to a 
sapper at head quarters. It proved a jovial one, for Joncaire i^ 
pears to have been somewhat of a boon oompanion, and there is 
always ready thon^ rough hospitality in the wilderness. It is 
troe, Washington, for so yoong a man, may not have had the 
most convivial air, but there may have been a moist look of pro- 
mise in the old soldier Van Braam. 

Joncaire and his brother officers poshed the bottle briskly. 
" The wine," says Washington, '< as they dosed themselves pretty 
plentifully with it, soon banished the restraint which at first ap- 
peared in their conversation, and gave a license to their tongues 
to reveal their sentiments more freely. They told me that it was 
their absolute design to take possession of the Ohio, and by G*— 
they would do it; for that although they were sensible the Eng- 
lish could raise two men for their one, yet they knew their mo- 
tions were too slow and dilatory to prevent any undertaking. 
They pretend to have an undoubted ri^t to the river from a 
discovery made by one La Salle sixty years ago, and the rise of 
this expedition is to prevent our settling on the river or the 
waters of it, as they heard of some families moving out in order 

Washington retained his sobriety and his composure through- 
out all the rodomontade and bacchanalian outbreak of the mer- 
curial Frenchmen; leaving the task of pledging them to his 
master of fence, Van Braam, who was not a man to flinch from 
potations. He took careful note, however, of all their revelations, 
and collected a variety of information c<mcerning the French 
fbrces; how and where they were distributed; the situati(ms and 
distances of their forts, and their means and mode of obtaining 
supplies. If the veteran diplomatist of tlie ^demess had ii(- 


tended this revel for a snare, he was completely foiled by his 
youthfol competitor. 

On the following day there was no travelling on aceonnt of 
excessive rain. Joncaire, in the meftn time, having discovered 
that the half-king was with the mission, expressed his sur- 
prise that he had not accompanied it to his quarters on the pre- 
ceding day. Washington, in truth, had feared to trust the sa- 
chem within the reach of the politic Frenchman. Nothing would 
do now but Joncaire must have the sachems at head-quarters. 
Here his diplomacy was triumphant. He received them with open 
arms. He was enraptured to see them. His Indian brothers I 
How could they be so near without coming to visit him? 
He made them presents ; but, above all, plied them so potently 
with liquor, that the poor half-king, Jeskakake, and White 
Thunder fi>rgot all about their wrongs, their speeches, their 
speech-belts, and all the business they had come upon ; paid no heed 
to the repeated cautions of their English friends, and were soon 
in a complete state of frantic extravagance or drunken oblivion. 

The next day the half-king made his appearance at Washing- 
ton's tent, perfectly sober and very mudi crestfedlen. He de- 
clared, however, that he still intended to make his speech to the 
French, and o£Eered to rehearse it on the spot; but Washington 
advised him not to waste his ammunition on inferior game like 
Joncaire and his comrades, but to reserve it for ike command- 
ant. The sachem was not to be persuaded. . Here, he said, was 
the place of the oounoil fire, where they were accustomed to 
transact their bumness with the French ; and as to Joncaire, he 
had all the management of French affiurs with the Indians. 

Washington was fain to attend the oounoil fire and listen to 
the speech. It was much the name in purport as that which be 


lutd made to the French general, and he ended by offiaring to 
return the French speech-belt ; bat this Jonoaire refused to re- 
ceive, telling him to carry it to the commander at the fort. 

All that day and the next was the party kept at Yenango by 
the stratagems of Joncaire and his emissaries to detain and se- 
duce the sachems. It was not until 12 o'clock on the 7th of De- 
cember, that Washington was able to extricate them out of their 
clutches and commence his journey. 

A French commissary by the name of La Force, and three 
soldiers, set off in company with him. La Force went as if on 
ordinary business, but he preyed <me of the most actiye, daring, 
and mischief-making of those anomalous agents employed by the 
French among the Indian tribes. It is probable that he was at 
the bottom of many of the perplexities experienced by Washing- 
ton at Yenango, and now trayelled with him for the prosecution 
of his wilea He wiU be found, hereafter, acting a more promi- 
nent part, and ultimately reaping the fruit of his evil doings. 

After four days of weary travel through snow and rain, and 
mire and swamp, the party reached the fori. It was situated on 
a kind of island on the west fork of Fr^ch Greek, about fifteen 
miles south of Lake Erie, and consisted of four houses, forming a 
hollow square, defended by bastions made of pallisades twelve 
feet high, picketed, and pierced for cannon and small arms. 
'Within the bastions were a guard-house, chapel, and other build- 
ings, and outside were stables, a smith's forge, and log-houses 
covered with bark, for the soldiera 

On the death of the late general, the fort had remained in 
charge of one Oaptain Beparti until within a week past, when the 
Chevalier Legardeur de St. Pierre had arrived, and taken com- 


The reception of Washington at the fort was very different 
from the unceremonious one experienced at the outpost of Jon- 
oaire and his convivial messmates. When he presented himself 
at the gate, accompanied by his interpreter, Van Braam, he was 
met by the officer second in command and conducted in due mili- 
tary form to his superior ; an ancient and silver-haired chevalier 
of the military order of St. Louis, courteous but ceremonious ; 
mingling the polish of the French gentleman of the old school 
with the precision of the soldier. 

Having announced his errand through his interpreter, Yan 
Braam, Washington offered his credentials and the letter of Gov- 
ernor Binwiddie, and was disposed to proceed at once to busi- 
ness with the prompt frankness of a young man unhackneyed in 
diplomacy. The chevalier, however, politely requested him to 
retain the documents in his possession until his predecessor, Cap- 
tain Keparti, should arrive, who was hourly expected from the 
next post. 

At two o'clock the captain arrived. The letter and its accom- 
panying documents were then offered agidn, and received in due 
form, and the dievalier and his officers retired with them into a 
private apartment, where the captain, who understood a little 
English, officiated as translator. The translation being finished, 
Washington waa requested to walk in and bring his translator 
Yan Braam, with him, to peruse and correct it, which he did. 

In this letter, Binwiddie complained of the intrusion of 
French forces into the Ohio country, erecting forts and making 
settlements in the western parts of the colony of Yirgmia, so no* 
toriously known to be the property of the crown of Great Britain. 
He inquired by whose authority and instructions die French 
Commander-general had marched this force from Canada, and 


made this myanon; utimating that his own action would be 
regulated by the answer he should reoeiye, and the tenor of the 
commission with which he was honored. At the same time he 
required of the commandant his peaceable departure, and that he 
would forbear to prosecute a purpose '' so interruptiye of the har- 
mony and good understanding which his majesty was desirous to 
continue and cultivate wi^ the most catholic king." 

The latter part of the letter related to the youthful enyoy. 
^ I persuade myself you will receiye and entertain Major Wash- 
ington with the candor and politeness natural to your nation, and 
it will give me the greatest satisfinction if you can return him with 
an answer suitable to my wishes for a long and lasting peace be- 
tween us." 

The two following days were consumed in councils of the 
chevalier and his officers over the letter and the necessary reply. 
Washington occupied himself in the mean time in observing and 
taking notes of the plan, dimensions, and strength of the fort, 
and of every thing about it. He gave orders to his people, also, 
to take an exact account of the canoes in readiness, and others in 
the process of construction, for the conveyance of troops down the 
river in the ensuing spring. 

As the weather continued stormy, with much snow, and the 
horses were daily losing strength, he sent them down, unladen, to 
Yenango, to await his return by water. In ihe mean time, he 
discovered that busy intrigues were going on to induce the half- 
king and the other sachems to abandon him, and renounce all 
friendship with the English. Upon learning this, he urged the 
chie& to deliver up their ''E^>eech-belts'^ immediately, as they had 
promised, thereby shaking off all dependence upon the French. 
They accordingly pressed for an audience that very evening. A 

80 UFB OF WASHINGTON. [l>758, 

priyate one was at length granted them bj the commander, in 
presence of one or two of his officers. The half-king reported the 
resolt of it to Washington. The venerable but astute chevalier 
cantiouslj evaded the acceptance of the proffered wampum ; made 
many professions of love and friendship, and said he wished to 
live in peace and trade amicably with tiie tribes of the Ohio, in 
proof of which he would s^id down some goods immediately for 
them to Logstown. 

As Washington understood, privately, that an officer was to 
accompany the man employed to convey these goods, he suspected 
that the real design was to arrest and bring off all straggling 
English traders they might meet with. What strengthened this 
opinion was a frank avowal which had been made to him by the 
chevalier, that he had orders to capture every British subject who 
should attempt to trade upon the Ohio or its waters. 

Captain Beparti, also, in reply to his inquiry as to what had 
been done with two Pennsylvania traders, who had been taken 
with all their goods, informed him that they had been sent to 
Canada, but had since returned home. He had stated, further- 
more, tiiat during the time he held command, a white boy had 
been carried captive past the fort by a pariy of Indians, who had 
with them, also, two or three white men's scalps. 

All these circumstances showed him the mischief that was 
brewing in these parts, and the treachery and violence that per- 
vaded the frontier, and made him the more solicitous to accom- 
plish his mission successfully, and conduct his little band in safety 
out of a wily neighborhood. 

On the evening <^ the 14th, the Chevalier de St Pierre de- 
livered to Washington his sealed reply to the letter of Governor 
Dinwiddle. The purport of previous conversations with the cheva- 


lier, and the whole oomplezion of a&irs on the frontier, left no 
do^ht of the nature of that reply. 

The business of his mission being aocomplished, Washington 
prepared on the 15th to return by watet to Venango ; but a 
secret influence was at work which retarded every movement. 

" The commandant," writes he, " ordered a plentiful store of 
liquor and provisions to be put on board our canoes, and appeared 
to be extremely complaisant, though he was exerting every arti- 
fice which he could invent to set our Indians at variance with us, 
to prevent their going until after our departure; presents, re- 
wards, and every thing which could be suggested by him or his 
officers. I cannot say that ever in my life I suffered so much 
anxiety as I did in this affair. I saw that every stratagem which 
the most fruitful brain could invent was practised to win the 
half-king to their interests, and that leaving him there was giving 
them the opportunity they aimed at. I went to the half-king, 
and pressed him in the strongest terms to go ; he told me that 
the ciHumandant would not discharge him until the morning. I 
then went to ihe commandant and desired him to do their busi- 
ness, and complained to him of ill treatment ; for, keeping them, 
as they were a part of my company, was detaining me. This he 
promised not to do, but to forward my journey as much as he 
could. He protested he<did not keep them, but was ignorant of 
the cause of their stay ; though I soon found it out He had 
promised them a present of guns if they would wait until the 
morning. As I was very much pressed by the Indians to wait 
this day for them, I consented, on the promise that nothing 
should hinder them in the morning." 

The next morning (16th) the French, in fulfilment of their 
promise, had to give the present of guns. They then endeavored 

Vol. I.— 4* 


to detain the sachems with liquor, which at any other time might 
have prevailed, but Washington reminded the half-king that his 
royal word was pledged to depart, and urged it upon him so 
closely that exerting unwonted resolution and self-denial, he turned 
his back upon the liquor and embarked. 

It was rough and laborious navigation. French Creek was 
swollen and turbulent, and full of floating ice. The frail canoes 
were several times in danger of being staved to pieces against 
rocks. Often the voyagers had to leap out and remain in the 
water half an hour at a time, drawing the canoes over shoals, and 
at one place to carry them a quarter of a mile across a neck of 
land, the river being completely dammed by ice. It was not un- 
til the 22d that they reached Yenango. 

Here Washington was obliged, most unwillingly, to part com 
pany with the sachems. White Thunder had hurt himself and 
was ill and unable to walk, and the others determined to remain 
at Venango for a day or two and convey him down the river in a 
canoe. There was danger that the smooth-tongued and convivial 
Joncaire would avail himself of the interval to ply the poor mon- 
arohs of the woods with flattery and liquor. Washington en- 
deavored to put the worthy half-king on his guard, knowing that 
he had once before shown himself but little proof against the 
seductions of the bottle. The sachem, however, desired him not 
to be concerned ; he knew the French too well for any thing to 
engage him in their fftvor; nothing should shake his faith to his 
English brothers; and it will be found that in these assurances 
he was sincere. 



On the 25ih of December, WashiDgton and his little party set 
out by land from Venango on their route homeward. They had 
a long water's journey before them, through a wilderness beset 
with dangers and difficulties. The paokhorses, laden with tents, 
baggage, and provisions, were completely jaded; it was fbared 
they would give out. Washington dismounted, gave up his sad- 
dle-horse to aid in transporting the baggage, and requested his 
companions to do the same. None but the drives remained in 
the saddle. He now equipped himself in an Indian hunting-dress, 
and with Van Braam, Gist, and John Daridson, the Indian in- 
terpreter, proceeded on foot 

The cold increased. There was deep snow that froze as it 
fell The horses grew less and less capable of travelling. For 
three days they toiled on slowly and wearily. Washington was 
impatient to accomplish his journey, and make his report to the 
governor; he determined, therefore, to hasten some distance in 


adyanoe of the party, and then strike for the Fork of the Ohio 
bj the nearest eourse directly throngh the woods. He accord- 
ingly pat the cavalcade under the command of Yan Braam, and 
fomiflhed him with money for expenses; then disencmnbering 
himself of all superflaoos clothing, buckling himself up in a 
watch-coat, strapping his pack on his shoulders, containing his 
p^ers and proviBions, and taking gun in hand, he left the horses 
to flounder on, and struck manfully ahead, accompanied only by 
Mr. Gist, who had equipped himself in like manner. 

At night they lit a fire, and '' camped " by it in the woods. 
At two o'clock in the morning they were again on foot, and 
pressed forward until they struck the south-east fork of Beaver 
Greek, at a place bearing the sinister name of Murdering Town ; 
probably the scene of some Indian massacre. 

Here Washington, in planning his route, had intended to 
le.ive the r^;ular path, and strike through the woods for Shanno- 
piiis Town, two or three miles above the fork of the Ohio, where 
he hoped to be able to cross the Allegany Eiver on the ice. 

At Murdering Town he found a party of Indians, who appeared 
to have known of his coming, and to have been waiting for him. 
One of them accosted Mr. Gist, and expressed great joy at seemg 
him. The waiy woodsman regarded him narrowly, and thought 
he had seen him at Joncaire's. If so, he and his comrades were 
in the French interest, and their lying in wait boded no good. 
The Indian was very curious in his inquiries as to when they had 
left Yenango; how they came to be travelling on foot; where 
they had left their horses, and when it was probable the latter 
would reach this place. All these questions increased the dis- 
trust of Gist, and rendered him extremely cautious in reply. 

The route hence to Shannopins Town lay through a trackless 

1758.] TMB INDIAN GUIDB. 85 

wild, of which the travellers knew nothing; after some oonealta- 
tion, therefore, it was deemed expedient to engage one of the In* 
dians as a gnide. He entered upon his duties with alaority, 
took Washington's pack upon his back, and led the way by what 
he said was the most direct course. After travelling briskly for 
eight or ten miles Washington became fatigued, and his feet 
were chafed ; he thought, too, they were taking a direction too 
much to the north-east; he came to a halt, therefore, and 
determined to light a fire, make a shelter of the burk and 
branches of trees, and encamp there for the night The Indian 
demurred ; he offered, as Washington was fatigued, to carry his 
gun, but the latter was too wary to part with his weapon. The 
Indian now grew churlish. There were Ottawa Indians in the 
woods, he said, who might be attracted by their fire, and surprise 
and scalp them ; he urged, therefore, that they should continue 
on : he would take them to his cabin, where they would be safe. 

Mr. Gist's suspicions increased, but he said nothing. Wash- 
ington's also were awakened. They proceeded some distance fur- 
ther: the guide paused and listened. He had heard, he said, 
the report of a gun toward the north ; it must be from his cabin ; 
he accordingly turned his steps in that direction. 

Washington began to apprehend an ambuscade of savages. 
He knew the hostility of many of them to the English, and what 
a desirable trophy was the scalp of a white man. The Indian 
still kept on toward the north ; he pretended to hear two whoops 
— they were from his cabin — it could not be far o& 

They went on two miles further, when Washington signified 
his determination to encamp at the first water they should find. 
The guide said nothing, but kept doggedly on. After a little 
while they arrived at an opening in the woods, and emerging 


from the deep shadows in which they had been travelling, found 
themselves in a dear meadow, rendered still more light bj 
the glare of the snow upon the ground. Scarcely had they 
emerged when the Indian, who was abont fifteen paces ahead, 
suddenly tamed, levelled his gon, and fired. Washington was 
startled for an instant, bat, feeling that he was not wounded, de- 
manded quickly of Mr. Gist if he was shot. The latter answered 
in the negative. The Indian in the mean time had run forward, 
and screened himself behind a large white oak, where he was re- 
loading his gun. They overtook, and seized him. Gist would 
have put him to death on the spot, but Washington humanely 
prevented him. They permitted him to finish the loading of his 
gun ; but, after he had put in the ball, took the weapon from him, 
and let him see that he was under guard. 

Arriving at a small stream they ordered the Indian to make 
a fire, and took turns to watch over the guns. While he was 
thus occupied. Gist, a veteran woodsman, and accustomed to hold 
the life of an Indian rather cheap, was somewhat incommoded by 
the scruples of his youthful commander, which ^ight enable the 
savage to carry out some scheme of treachery. He observed to 
Washington that, since he would not suJSer the Indian to be 
killed, they must manage to get him out of the way, and then 
decamp with all speed, and travel all night to leave this perfidious 
neighborhood behind them ; but first it was necessary to blind 
the guide as to their intentions. He accordingly addressed him 
in a friendly tone, and adverting to the late circumstance, pre- 
tended to suppose that he had lost his way, and fired his gun 
merely as a signal. The Indian, whether deceived or not, readily 
diimed in with the explanation. He said he now knew the way 
to his cabin, which was at no great dbtance. '^ Well then," re- 

1758.] AN ANXIOUS NIGHT. 87 

plied Oiat, << you can go home, and aa we are tired we will re- 
main here for ihe night, and follow your track at daylight. In 
the mean time here b a cake of bread for you, and you mnat giye 
U8 some meat in the monung." 

Whatever might have been the original deeigna iji the savage, 
he was evidently glad to get ofL Gist followed him cantionsly 
for a distance, and listened until the sound of his footsteps died 
away; returning then to Washington, they proceeded about half 
a mile, made another fire, set their compass and fixed their course 
by the light of it, then leaving it burning, pushed forward, and 
travelled as fast as possible all night, so as to gain a fitir start 
should any one parsue them at daylight. Oontinuing on the 
next day they never relaxed their speed until nightfall, when they 
arrived on the banks of the Allegany River, about two miles 
above Shannopins Town. 

Washington had expected to find the river firosen completely 
over; it was so only for about fifty yards from either shore, 
while great quantities of broken ice were driving down the main 
channel. Trusting that he had out-travelled pursuit, he encamped 
on the border of the river ; still it was an anxious night, and he 
was up at daybreak to devise some means of reaching the oppo- 
site bank. No other mode presented itself than by a raft, and 
to construct this they had but one poor hatchet With this they 
set resolutely to work and labored all day, but the sun went down 
before their raft was finished. They launched it, however, and 
getting on board, endeavored to propel it across with setting poles. 
Before they were half way over the raft became jammed between 
cakes of ice, and they were in imminent peril Washington 
planted his pole on the bottom of the stream, and leaned against 
it with all his might, to stay the raft until the ice should pass 


by. The rapid current forced the ice against the pole with such 
violence that he was jerked into the water, where it was at least 
ten feet deep, and only saved himself from being swept away 
and drowned by catching hold of one of the rafib logs. 

It was now impossible with all their exertions to get to 
eitiier shore ; abandoning the raft therefore, diey got upon an 
island, near which they were drifting. Here they passed the night 
exposed to intense cold, by which the hands and feet of Mr. Gist 
were frozen. In the morning they found the drifb ice wedged so 
closely together, that they succeeded in getting from the island 
to the opposite side of the river ; and before night were in com* 
fortable quarters at the house of Frazier, the Indian trader, at 
the mouth of Turtle Greek on the Monongahela. 

Here they learned from a war party of Indians that a band of 
Ottawas, a tribe in the interest of the French, had massacred a 
whole family of whites on the banks of the great Kanawha Biver. 

At Frazier's they were detained two or three days endeavor* 
ing to procure horses. In this interval Washington had again 
occasion to exercise Indian diplomacy. About three miles dis« 
tant, at the mouth of the YoughiogenyEiver, dwelt a female sa- 
chem. Queen Aliquippa, as the English called her, whose sove* 
reign dignity had been aggrieved, that the party on their way to 
the Ohio, had passed near her royal wigwam without pa3ring their 
respects to her. 

Aware of the importance, at this critical juncture, of securing 
the friendship of the Indians, Washington availed himself of the 
interruption of his journey, to pay a visit of ceremony to this 
native princess. Whatever anger she may have felt at past neg- 
lect, it was readily appeased by a present of his old watch-coat ; 
and her good graces were completely secured by a bottle of rum, 


whieh, he intimates, appeared to be peonliarly acceptable to her 

Learing Fraxier's on the 1st of January, they arrived on the 
2d at the residence of Mr. Gist, on the Monongahela. Here they 
separated, and Washington haying pnrchased a horse, oontinned 
his homeward course, passing horses laden with materials and 
stores for the fort at the fork of the Ohio, and &milies going out 
to settle there. 

Haying crossed the Blue Ridge and stopped one day at Bel- 
yoir to rest, he reached Williamsburg on the 16th of January, 
where he deliyered to Qoyernor Dinwiddie the letter of the French 
commandant, and made him a full report of the eyents of his 

We haye been minute in our account of this expedition as it 
was an early test and deyelopment of the yarious talents and char- 
acteristics of Washington. 

The prudence, sagacity, resolution, firmness, and self-deyotion 
manifested by him throughout ; his admirable tact and self-pos- 
session in treating with fickle sayages and crafty white men ; the 
soldier's eye wiUi which he had noticed the commanding and de- 
fensible points of the country, and eyery thing that would bear 
upon military operations ; and the hardihood with which he had 
acquitted himself during a wintry tramp through the wilderness, 
throng constant storms of rain and snow ; often sleeping on the 
ground wiUiout a tent in the open air, and in danger from treach- 
erous foes, — all pointed him out, not merely to the goyemor, but to 
ihe public at large, as one eminently fitted, notwithstanding his 
youth, for important trusts inyolying ciyil as well as military duties 
It is an expedition that may be considered the foundation of his 
fortunes. From that moment he was the rising hope of Virginia 



Tub reply of the Ohevalier de St Pierre was Buoh as might have 
been expected from that courteoas, bat wary commander. He 
should transmit, he said, the letter of Governor Dinwiddie to his 
general, the Marquis du Quesne, " to whom,'' observed he, '^ it 
better belongs than to me to set forth the evidence and reality of 
the rights of the king, my master, upon the lands situated along 
the river Ohio, and to contest the pretensions of the King of 
Great Britain thereto. His answer shall be a law to me. * * 
* * * As to the summons you send me to retire, I do not 
think myself obliged to obey it Whatever may be your instruc- 
tions, I am here by virtue of the orders of my general ; and I 
entreat you, sir, not to doubt one moment but that I am deter- 
mined to conform myself to them with all the exactness and reso- 
lution which can be expected from the best officer." • « * • 
'< I made it my particular care," adds he, '^ to receive Mr. 


Washington with a distinction suitable to your dignitj, as well as 
his own quality and great merit. I flatter myself that he will do 
me this justice before you, sir, and that he will signify to you, in 
the manner I do myself, the profound respect with which I am, 
sir," <fec.» 

This soldier-like and punctilious letter of the chevalier was 
considered evasire, and only intended to gam time. The infor- 
mation given by Washington of what he had observed on the 
frontier convinced Governor Dinwiddle and his council that the 
French were preparing to descend the Ohio in the spring, and 
take military possession of the country. Washington's journal 
was printed, and widely promulgated throughout the colonies and 
England, and awakened the nation to a sense of the impending 
danger, and the necessity of prompt measures to anticipate the 
French movements. 

Captain Trent was despatched to the frontier, commissioned 
to raise a company of one hundred men, march with all speed to 
the Fork of the Ohio, and finish as soon as possible the fort com- 
menced there by the Ohio Company. He was enjoined to act 
only on the defensive, but to capture or destroy whoever should 
oppose the construction of the works, or disturb the settlements. 
The choice of Captain Trent for this service, notwithstanding his 
late inefficient expedition, was probably owing to his being 
brother-in-law to George Croghan, who had grown to be quite a 
personage of consequence on the frontier, where he had an estab- 
lishment or tradiog-house, and was supposed to have great influ- 
ence among the western tribes, so as to be able at any tune to 
persuade many of them to take up the hatchet. 

* London Mag., June, 1764. 


Washington was empowered to raise a oompany of like force 
at Alexandria ; to procure and forward munitions and supplies 
for the projected fort at the Fork, and ultimately to have com- 
mand of both companies. When on the frontier he was to take 
council of George Groghan and Andrew Montour the interpreter, 
in all matters relating to the Indians, they being esteemed perfect 
oracles in that department. 

Governor Dinwiddle in the mean time called upon the gover- 
nors of the other provinces to make common cause against the 
foe ; he endeavored, also, to effect alliances with the Indian tribes 
of the south, the Oatawbas and Gherokees, by way of counter- 
balancing the Ghippewas and Ottawas, who were devoted to the 

The colonies, however, felt as yet too much like isolated terri- 
tories ; the spirit of union was wanting. Some pleaded a want 
of military funds; some questioned the justice of the cause; 
3ome declined taking any hostile step that might involve them in 
a war, unless they should have direct orders from the crown. 

Dinwiddle convened the House of Burgesses to devise measures 
for the public security. Here his high idea of prerogative and 
of gubernatorial dignity met with a grievous countercheck from 
the dawning spirit of independence. High as were the powers 
vested in the colonial government of Virginia, of which, thou^ 
but lieutenant-governor, he had the actual control ; they were 
counterbalanced by the power inherent in the people, growing out 
of their situation and circumstances, and acting through their 

There was no turbulent factious opposition to government in 
Virginia ; no '^ fierce democracy,'' the rank growth of crowded 
cities, and a fermenting populace; but there was the independence 


of men, liyhig apart in patriarclud stjie on their own mral do- 
mains^ surrounded by their families, dependants and slares, 
among whom their will was law,— «nd there was tiie individuality 
in character and action of men prone to nurture peculiar notions 
and habits of thinking, in the thoughtful solitariness of country 

When Dinwiddle propounded his scheme of operations <m ihie 
Ohio, some of the burgesses had the hardihood to doubt the 
chums of the king to the disputed territory ; a doubt which the 
goremor reprobated as sayoring strongly of a most disloyal 
French spirit ; he fired, as he says, at the ihou^t '^ that an Eng- 
lish l^siature should presume to doubt the right of his majesty 
to the interior parts of this continent, the back part of his 
dominions I '' 

Others demurred to any grant of means for military purposes 
whidi mi|^t be construed into an act of hostility. To meet this 
scruple it was suggested that the grant might be made for the 
purpose of encouraging and protecting all settlers on the waters 
of tiie Mississippi And under this spedous plea ten thousand 
pounds were grudgingly voted ; but even this moderate sum was 
not put at the absolute disposition of the governor. A com- 
mittee was appointed with whom he was to confer as to its appro- 

This precauti<m Dinwiddie considered an insulting invasion 
of the ri^t he possessed as governor to control the purse as well 
as the sword; and he com^dained bitterly of the assembly, as 
deeply tinctured with a republican way of thinking, and disposed 
to encroach on the prerogative of the crown, " which he feared 
would render them more and more difficult to be brauj^i to 


Ways and means being provided, Governor Dinwiddie aug- 
mented the number of troops to be enlisted to three hundred, 
divided into six companies. The command of the whole, as 
before, was offered to Washington, but he shrank from it, as a 
charge too great for his youth and inexperience. It was given, 
therefore, to Colonel Joshua Fry, an English gentleman of worth 
and education, and Washington was made second in command, 
with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. 

The recruiting, at first, went on slowly. Those who offered 
to enlist, says Washington, were for the most part loose idle per- 
sons without house or home, some without shoes or stockings, 
some shirtless, and many without coat or waistcoat. 

He was young in the recruiting service, or he would have 
known that such is generally the stuff of which armies are made. 
In this country especially it has always been difficult to enlist the 
active yeomanry by holding out merely the pay of a soldier. The 
means of subsistence are too easily obtained by the industrious, 
for them to give up home and personal independence for a mere 
daily support Some may be tempted by a love of adventure ; 
but in general, they require some prospect of ultimate advantage 
that may " better their condition." 

Governor Dinwiddie became sensible of this, and resorted to 
an expedient rising out of the natural resources of the country, 
which has since been frequently adopted, and always with efficacy. 
He proclaimed a bounty of two hundred thousand acres of land 
on the Ohio River, to be divided among the officers and soldiers 
who should engage in this expedition ; one thousand to be laid 
off contiguous to the fort at the fork, for the use of the garrison. 
This was a tempting bait to the sons of fiEtrmers, who readily 


anlisted in the hope of having, at the end of a short oampaign, a 
mug farm of their own in this land of promise. 

It was a more difficult matter to get officers than soldiers. 
Yery few of those i^pointed made their appearance ; one of the 
obtains had been promoted; two declined; Washington found 
himself left, almost alone, to manage a number of self-willed, 
undisciplined recruits. Happily he had with him, in the rank of 
lieutenant, that soldier of fortune, Jacob Yan Braam, his old 
" master of fence," and trayelling interj^eter. 

In his emergency he forthwith nominated him captain, and 
wrote to the goyemor to confirm the appointment, representing 
him as the oldest lieutenant, and an experienced officer. 

On the 2d of Apnl Washington set off from Alexandria for 
^e new fort, at the fork of the Ohio. He had but two com- 
panies with him, amounting to about one hundred and fifty men ; 
the remainder of the raiment was to follow under Colonel Fry 
with the artillery, which was to be conyeyed up the Potomaa 
While on the march he was joined by a detachment under Gap- 
tain Adam Stephens, an officer destined to serve with him at 
distant periods of his military career. 

At Winchester he found it impossible to obtain conveyances 
by gentle means, and was obliged reluctantly to avail himself of 
the militia law of Yirginia, and impress horses and waggons for 
service ; giving the owners orders on government for their i^ 
praised value. Even then, out of a great number impressed, he 
obtained but ten, after waiting a week; these, too, were grudg- 
ingly furnished by fiftrmers with their worst horses, so that in 
steep and difficult passes they were incompetent to the draught, 
aid the soldiers had continually to put their shoulders to the 


Thus alenderlj fitted out, Washington and his little force 
made their way toilfully across the mountains, having to prepare 
the roads as they went for the transportation of the cannon, which 
were to follow on with the other division under Colonel Fry. 
They cheered themselves with the thoughts that this hard work 
would cease when they should arrive at the company's trading- 
post and store-house at Wills' Greek, where Oaptain Trent was 
to have packhorses in readiness, with which they might make the 
rest of the way by light stages. Before arriving there they were 
startled by a rumor that Trent and all his men had been captured 
by the French. With regard to Trent, the news soon proved to 
be false, for they found him at Wills' Greek on the 20th of ApriL 
With regard to his men there was still an uncertainty. He had 
recently left them at the fork of the Ohio, busily at work on the 
fort, under the command of his lieutenant, Frazier, late Indian 
trader and gunsmith, but now a provincial officer. If the men 
had been captured, it must have been since ihe captain's departure. 
Washington was eager to press forward and ascertain the truth, 
but it was impossible. Trent, inefficient as usual, had failed to 
provide packhorses. It was necessary to send to Winchester, 
forty miles distant, for baggage waggons, and await their arrival. 
All uncertainty as to the fate of the men, however, was brought 
to a close by their arrival, on the 25th, conducted by an ensign, 
and bringing with them their working implements. The French 
might well boast that th^had again been too quick for the 
English. Gaptain Gontrecoeur, an alert officer, had embarked 
about a thousand men with field-pieces, in a fleet of sixty batteaui. 
and three hundred canoes, dropped down the river from Yenango, 
and suddenly made his appearance before the fort, on which t]|p 
men were working, and which was not half completed. Landing, 


drawing up his men, and planting his artillery, he Bnqimoned the 
fort to surrender, allowing one hour for a written reply. 

What was to he donel the whole garrison did not exceed 
fifty men. ^ Captain Trent was ahs^it at Wills' Greek ; Frazier, 
his lieutenant, was at his own residence at Tortle Creek, ten miles 
distant. There was no officer to reply hat a young ensign of the 
name of Ward. In his perplexity he turned for counsel to 
Tanacharisson, the half-king, who was present in the fort. The 
chief advised the ensign to plead insufficiency of rank and powers, 
and <»raTe delay until the arrival of his superior officer. The 
odsign repaired to the French camp to offer this excuse in person, 
and was accompanied hy the half-king. They were courteously 
received, but Contrecosur was inflexible. There must be instant 
surrender, or he would take forcible possession. All that the 
ensign could obtain was permission to depart with his men, taking 
with them their working tools. The capitulation ended. Gon- 
treccdur, with true French gayety, invited the ensign to sup with 
him ; treated him witii the utmost politeness, and wished him a 
pleasant journey, as he set off the next morning with his men 
laden with their working tools. 

Such was the ensign's story. He was accompanied hy two 
Indian warriors, sent by the half-king to ascertain where the de- 
tachment was, what was its strength, and when it might be ex- 
pected at the Ohio. They bore a speech from that sadiem to 
Washington, and another, with a belt of wampum for the Gover- 
nor of Yirginia. In these he plighted his steadfast £ftith to the 
English, and daimed assistance from his brothers of Yirginia 
and Pennsylvania. 

One of these warriors Washington forwarded on with the 
speech and wampum to Governor I>inwi44ie* The other he pre- 

Vol. I.— S 

98 LIF£ OF WASHINGTON. [1754. 

vailed on to return to the half-king, bearing a speeeh from him, 
addressed to the ^^ Sachems, warriors of the Six United Nations, 
Shannoahs and Delawares, our friends and brethren." In this he 
informed them that he was on the advanoe with a part of the 
army, to clear the road for a greater force coming with guns, 
ammunition, and proyisions ; and he invited the half-king and 
another sachem to meet him on the road as soon as possible to 
hold a council. 

In fact, his situation was arduous in the extreme. Begmrding 
the conduct of the French in the recent occurrence an overt act of 
war, he found himself thrown with a handful of raw recruits fcur 
on a hostile frontier, in the midst of a wilderness, with an enemy 
at hand greatly superior in number and discipline ; provided with 
artillery, and aU the munitions of war, and within reach of con- 
stant supplies and reinforcements. Beside the French that had 
come from Venango, he had received credible accounts of another 
party ascending the Ohio ; and of six hundred Ghippewas and 
Ottawas marching down Scioto Greek to join the hostile camp. 
Still, notwithstanding the accumulating danger, it would not do 
to fall back, nor show signs of apprehension. His Indian allies 
in such case might desert him. The soldiery, too, might grow 
restless and dissatisfied. He was already annoyed by Captain 
Trent's men, who, having enlisted as volunteers, considered them- 
selves exempt from the rigor of martial law; and by their exam- 
ple of loose and refractory conduct, threatened to destroy the 
subordination of his own troops. 

In this dilemma he called a coundl of war, in which it waa 
determined to proceed to the Ohio Company store-houses, at the 
mouth of Redstone Creek { fortify themselves there, and wait 
for reinforc^men^. Here they might koep up a vigilant watoh 


iqKm tiw enemy, and get notice of any hostile movement in time 
for defence, or retreat ; and should they be reinforced sufficiently 
to enable them to attack the fort, they could easily drop down 
the river with their artillery. 

With these alternatives in view, Washington detached sixty 
men in advance to make a road ; and at the same time wrote to 
Governor Dinwiddie for mortars and grenadoes, and cannon of 
heavy metal. 

Aware that the Assembly of Pennsylvania was in session, 
and that the Maryland Assembly would also meet in the course 
of a few days, he wrote directly to the governors of those pro- 
vinces, acquainting them with the hostile acts of the French, and 
with his perilous situation ; and endeavoring to rouse them to co- 
operation in the common cause. We will here note in advance 
that his letter was laid before the Legislature of Pennsylvania, 
and a bill was about to be passed making appropriations for the 
service of the king; but it fell through, in consequence of a disa- 
greement between the AssemUy and the governor as to the mode 
in which the money should be raised ; and so no assistance was 
furnished to Washington from that quarter. The youthful com- 
mander had here a foretaste, in these his incipient campaigns, of 
the perils and perplexities which awaited him from enemies in 
the field, and lax firimids in legislative councils in the grander 
operations of his future years. Before setting off for Redstone 
Creek, he discharged Trent's refractory men from his detach- 
ment, ordering them to await Colonel Fry's commands; they, 
however, in tiie true spirit of volunteers from the backwoods, 
dispersed to their several homes. 

It may be as well to observe, in tiiis place, that both Captain 
Trent and Lieutenant Frasior were severely censured for being 


absent from their post at the time of the French sosunons. 
'^ Trent's behavior," said Washington, in a letter to QoTemor 
Pinwiddie, ^' has been rery tardy, and has conyinoed the world 
of what they before suspected — his great timidity. Lieutenant 
Frarier, though not altogether blameless, is much more excusable, 
for he would not accept of the commission until he had a promise 
from his captain that he should not reside at the fort, nor visit 
it above once a week, or as he saw necessity." In fSftct, Wash- 
ington subsequentlj recommended Frasier for the office of adju- 



noM not BAincBOF ihx TOuamooKNT — aitxiipt to dbbobnd that bivxr — 


Oh the 29th of April Washington set out from Wills' Creek at 
the head of one hundred and sixty men. He soon overtook those 
sent in advance to work the road ; they had made but little pro- 
gress. It was a difficult task to break a road throu^ the wil- 
derness sufficient for the artillery coming on with Colonel Fry's 
division. All hands were now set to work, but with aU their 
labor they could not accomplish more than four miles a day. 
They were toiling through Savage Mountain and that dreary 
forest region beyond it, since bearing the sinister name of ^ The 
Shades of Death." On the 9th of May they were not further 
than tw^ty miles from Wills' Creek, at a plaoe called the Little 

Every day came gloomy accounts frt>m the Ohio; brought 
chiefly by traders, who, with packhorses bearing their effects, 
were retreating to the more settled parts of the country. Some 


exaggerated ihe number of the French, as if strongly reinforced. 
All represented them as diligently at work constructing a fort. 
By their account Washington perceived the French had chosen 
the very place which he had noted in his journal as best fitted for 
the purpose. 

One of the traders gave information concerning La Force the 
French emissary, who had beset Washington when on his mission 
to the frontier, and acted, as he thought, the part of a spy. He 
had been at Gist's new settlement beyond Laurel Hill, and was 
prowling about the country with four soldiers at his heels on a 
pretended hunt after deserters. Washington suspected him to be 
on a reconnoitering expedition. 

It was reported, moreover, that the French were lavishing 
presents on the Indians about the lower part of the river, to draw 
them to their standard. Among aU these flying reports and alarms 
Washington was gratified to learn that the half-king was on his 
way to meet him at the head of fifty warriors. 

After infinite toil through swamps and forests, and over rug- 
ged mountains, the detachment arrived at the Youghiogeny Eiver, 
where they were detained some days constructing a bridge to 
cross it. 

This gave Washington leisure to correspond with Governor 
Dinwiddle, concerning matters which had deejay annoyed him. 
By an ill-judged economy of the Virginia government at this 
critical juncture, its provincial officers received less pay than that 
allowed in the regular army. It is true the regular officers were 
obliged to furnish their own table, but their superior pay enabled 
them to do it luxuriously ; whereas the provincials were obliged 
to do hard duty on salt provisions and water. The provincial 
officers resented this inferiority of pay as an indignity, and de- 

1754.] Washington's motivbs of action. 103 

olared that nothing prevented them from throwing up their com- 
missions but unwillingness to recede before approaching danger. 

Washington shared deeply this feeling. " Let him serve volun- 
tarily, and he would with the greatest pleasure in life devote his 
services to the expedition — but to be slaving through woods, rocks, 
and mountains, for the shadow of pay — " writes he, " I would 
rather toil like a day laborer for a maintenance, if reduced to the 
necessity, than serve on such ignoble terms." Parity of pay was 
indispensable to the dignity of the service. 

Other instances of false economy were pointed out by him, 
forming so many drags upon the expedition, that he quite de- 
spaired of success. '< Be the consequence what it will, however,'' 
adds he, " I am determined not to leave the regiment, but to be 
among the last men that leave the Ohio ; even if I serve as a 
private volunteer, which I greatly prefer to the establishment we 
are upon. • # • • j t^ve a constitution hardy enough to 
encounter and undergo the most severe trials, and I flatter myself 
resolution to face what any man dares, as shall be proved when it 
comes to the test." 

And in a letter to his friend Oolonel Fairfax — ^** For my own 
part," writes he, 'Mt is a matter almost indifferent whether I 
serve for fidl pay or as a generous volunteer ; indeed, did my cir^ 
eumstances correspond with my inclinations, I should not hesitate 
a moment to prefer the latter ; for the motives that have led me 
here are pure and noble. I had no view of acquisition hut 
that of hoTMr, hy serving faithfully my king and country,'*^ 

Such were the noble impulses of Washington at the age of 
twenty-two, and such continued to actuate him throughout life. 
We have put the latter part of the quotation in italics, as appli- 
eable to the motives which in after life carried him into the Revo- 

104 LIFK OF WASmNUTON. [1764 

While the bridge over the Yonghiogeny was in the coarse of 
GonstruotioD, the Indians assured Washington he would never b^ 
able to open a waggon-road across the mountains to Redstone 
Creek ; he embarked therefore in a canoe with a lieutemmt, three 
soldiers, and an Indian guide, to try whether it was possible to 
descend the river. They had not descended above ten miles be- 
fore- the Indian refused to go further. Washington soon ascer- 
tained the reason. " Indians," said he, ^^ expect presents — ^noth- 
ing can be done without them. The French take this method. 
If you want one or more to oonduct a party, to discover the coun- 
try, to hunt, or for any particular purpose, they must be bought ; 
their friendship is not so warm as to prompt them to these ser- 
vices gratis.^' The Indian guide in the present instance, was 
propitiated by the promise of one of Washington's ruffled shirts, 
and awatoh-coat. 

The river was bordered by mountains and obstructed by rocks 
and rapids. Indians might thread such a labyrinth in their light 
canoes, but it would never admit the transportation of troops and 
military stores. Washington kept on for thirty miles, until he 
came to a place where the river fell nearly forty feet in the space 
of fifty yards. There he ceased to explore, and returned to 
camp, resolving to continue forward by land. y 

On the 23d Indian scouts brought word that the Frendi were 
not above eight hundred strong, and that about half their num- 
ber had been detached at night on a secret expedition. Close 
upon this report came a message from the half-king, addressed 
" to the first of his majesty's officers whom it may concern." 

" It is reported," said he, " that the French army is coming 
to meet Major Washington. Be on your guard against them, my 
brethren, for they intend to strike the first English they shall see. 

1764.] LURKINQ FOES. 105 

Tkey haye been on their march two daja. I know not their nam* 
her. The half-king and the reat o! the ohieft will be with you 
in five days to hold a oonnoiL" 

In the evening Washington waa told that the Frendi were 
crossing the ford of the Youghiogeny abont eighteen miles distant 
He now hastened to take a position in a place called the Great' 
Meadows^ where he caused the bushes to be cleared away, made an 
intrenchment, and prepared what he termed " a charming field 
for an encounter." 

A party of scouts were mounted on waggon horses, and sent 
out to reconnoitre. They returned without haying seen an 
enemy. A sensitiveness prevailed in the camp. They were sur- 
rounded by forests, threatened by unseen foes, and hourly in 
danger of surprise. There was an alarm about two o'clock in the 
night The sentries fired upon what they took to be prowling 
foes. The troops sprang to arms, and remained on the alert un- 
til daybreak. Not an enemy was to be seen. The roll was 
called. Six men were missing, who had deserted. 

On the 25th Mr. Oist arrived from his place, about fifteen 
miles distant. La Force had been there at noon on the previous 
day, with a detachment of fifty men, and Gist had since come 
upon their track within five miles of the camp. Washington 
considered La Force a bold, enterprising man, subtle and danger- 
ous; one to be particularly guarded against He detached 
seventy-five men in pursuit of him and his prowling band. 

About nine o'clock at night came an Lidian messmiger from 
the half-king, who was encamped with several of his people about 
six miles oC The chief had seen tracks of two Frenchmen, and 

\ oonvinced their whole body must be in ambush near by. 

Washington considered this the force whidi had been hover- 

Vol, L— S* 


ing about him for sereral days, and determined to forestall their 
hostile designs. Leaving a guard with the baggage and ammu- 
nition, he set out before ten o'clock, with forty men, to join his 
Indian ally. They groped their way in single file, by footpaths 
through the woods, in a heavy rain and murky darkness, tripping 
occasionally and stumbling over each other, sometimes losing the 
track for fifteen or twenty minutes, so that it was near sunrise 
when they reached the camp of the half-king. 

That chieftain received the youthful commander with great 
demonstrations of friendship, and engaged to go hand in hand 
with him against the lurking enemy. He set out accordingly, 
accompanied by a few of his warriors and his associate sachem 
Scarooyadi or Monacatoocha, and conducted Washington to the 
tracks which he had discovered. Upon these he put two of his 
Indians. They followed them up like hounds, and brought back 
word that they had traced them to a low bottom surrounded by 
rocks and trees, where the French were encamped, having built a 
few cabins for shelter from the rain. 

A plan was now concerted to come upon them by surprise ; 
Washington with his men on the right ; the half-king with his 
warriors on the left ; all as silently as possible. Washington was 
the first upon the ground. As he advanced from among the 
rocks and trees at the head of his men, the French caught si^t 
of him and ran to their arms. A sharp firing instantly took 
place, and was kept up on both sides for about fifteen minutes. 
Washington and his party were most exposed and received all the 
enemy's fire. The balls whistled around him; one man was 
killed close by him, and three others wounded. The French at 
length, having lost several of their number, gave way and ran. 
They were soon overtaken; twenty-one were captured, and but 


one escaped, a Canadian, irho carried the tidings €t the afGdr to 
the fort on the Ohia The Indians would have massacred the 
prisoners had not Washington preyented them. Ten of the 
French had fallen in the skirmish, and one beoi ironnded. 
Washington's loss was the one killed and three wonnded which 
we have mentioned. He had been in the hottest fire, and having 
for the first time heard balls whistle about him, considered his 
escape miraculous. Jumonrille, the French leader, had been shot 
through the head at the first fire. He was a young officer of 
merit, and his fate was made the subject of lamentation in prose 
and verse^ — chiefly through political motives. 

Of the twenty-one prisoners the two most important were an 
officer of some consequence named Drouillon, and the subtle and 
redoubtable La Force. As Washington considered the latter an 
arch mischief-maker, he was rejoiced to have him in his power. 
La Force and his companion would fain have assumed the sacred 
character of ambassadors, pretending they were coming with a 
summons to him to depart from the territories belonging to the 
crown of France. 

Unluckily for their pretensions, a letter of instructions, found 
on JumonviUe, betrayed their real errand, which was to inform 
themselves of the roads, rivers, and other features of the country 
as far as the Potomac; to send back from time to time, by fleet 
messengers, all the information they could collect, and to give 
word of the day on which they intended to serve the summons. 

Their conduct had been conformable. Instead of coming in a 
direct and open manner to his encampment, whmi they had ascer- 
tained where it was, and delivering their summons, as they would 
have done had their designs been frank and loyal, they had moved 
back two miles, to one of the most secret retirements, better for 


a deserter than an ambassador to eneamp in/ and staid thfltre, 
within five miles of his camp, sending spies to reconnoitre it, and 
dei^tching messengers to Oontrecosar to inform him of its posi- 
tion and numerical strength, to the end, no doabt, that he might 
send a sufficient detachment to enforce the summons as soon as it 
ihoold be giren. In £aot, the footprints which had first led to 
the discorerj of the Frmich Inrking-plaoe, were those of two 
** runners/^ or swift messengers, sent by Jamonyille to the fort on 
the Ohio. 

It would seem that La Force, after all, was but an instrument 
in the hands of his commuiding officers, and not in their full con- 
fidence ; for when the commission and instructions found on Ju- 
monyille were read before him, he professed not to haye seen them 
before, and acknowledged, with somewhat of an air of ingenuous- 
ness, that he believed they had a hostile tendency/ 

Upon the whole, it was the opinion of Washington and his 
officers that the summ(His, on which so much stress was laid, was 
a mere specious pretext to mask their real designs and be used as 
occasion might require. ^^ That they were spies rather than any 
thing else,^ and were to be treated as prisoners <^ war. 

The half-king joined heartily in this opinion; indeed, had 
the tsAe of the prisoners been in his hands, neither diplomacy nor 
any thing else would have been of ajaiL ^' They came with hos- 
tile intentions," he said ; ** they had bad hearts, and if his English 
brothers were so fodish as to let them go, he would nerer aid in 
taking another Frendunafu^ 

The prisoners were accordingly conducted to the camp at the 
Chreat Meadows, and sent on the following day (29th), under a 

* WaahiogtOB*s letter to Dinwiddie, a9th Hay, 1754 


strong 60oort to Goreroor Dinwiddle, then at Winchester. Wash* 
ington had treated them with great courtesy; had fomished 
Bronillon and La Force with doihing from his own scanty stodc, 
and, at their request, given them letters to the goremor, bespeak* 
ing for theih '< the respect and fkror doe to their character and 
pers(mal merit" 

A sense of duty, howerer, obliged him, in his general de* 
Q)ateh, to put the governor on his goard against La Foroe. ^^ I 
really think, if released, he would do more to our dissenrice than 
fifty other men, as he is a person whose actire spirit leads him 
into all parUes, and has brought him acquainted with all parts 
of the country. Add to this a perfect knowledge of the Lidian 
tongue, and great influence with the Indians." 

After the departure of the prisoners, he wrote again respect* 
ing them: ^'I have still stronger presumption, indeed almost 
eonfirmation, that they were sent as spies, and were ordered to 
wait near us till they were fully informed of our intentions, situ* 
ation, and strength, and were to have acquainted their commander 
(herewith, and to have been lurking here for reinforcements before 
they served the sunmions, if served at alL 

^' I doubt not but they will endeavor to amuse you with many 
smooth stories, as they did me ; but they were confuted in them 
all, and, by circumstances too plain to be denied, almost made 
ashamed of their assertions. 

^* I have heard since they went away, they should say they 
called on us not to fire ) but that I know to be false, for I was the 
first man that a^^roached them, and the first whom they saw, and 
inmiediately they ran to their arms, and fired briskly till they 
were defeated." •••#«<! f^ney they will have the as- 
surance of asking the privileges due to an embassy, when in strict 
justice they ought to be hanged as spies of the worst sort." 


The Bitnation of Waahiiigton was now extremely periloiUL 
Contreoorar, it was said, had nearly a thoosand men with him at 
the fort, beside Indian allies; and reinforcements were on the 
way to join him. The messengers sent by Jomonyille, previous 
to the late affair, most have apprised him of the weakness of the 
encampment on the Great Meadows. Washington hastened to 
strengthen it. He wrote by express also to Oolonel Fry, who lay 
ill at Wills' Greek, urging instant reinforcements ; but declaring 
his resolution to ^^ fight with very unequal numbers rather than 
giye up one inch of what he had gained." 

The half-king was full of fight He sent the scalps of the 
Frenchmen slain in the late skirmish, accompanied by black 
wampum and hatchets, to all his allies, summoning them to take 
up arms and join him at Bedstone Creek, *^ for their brothers, the 
English, had now begun in earnest." It is said he would even 
hare sent the scalps of the prisoners had not Washington inter- 
fered.* He went off^for his home, promising to send down the 
river for all the Mingoes and Shawnees, and to be back at the 
camp on the 30th, with thirty or forty warriors, accompanied by 
their wives and children. To assist him in the transportation of 
his people and their effects thirty men were detached, and twenty 

" I shall expect every hour to be attacked," writes Washington 
to Governor Dinwiddie, on the 29th, ^' and by unequal numbers, 
which I must withstand, if there are five to one, for I fear the 
consequence will be that we shall lose the Indians if we suffer 
ourselves to be driven back. Your honor may depend I will not 
be surprised, let them come at what hour they will, and this is as 

• Letter from Virginia. — London Mag., 1764. 


mmdi as I can proouBe; bni my best endeavors shall not be 
wanting to effect more. I doabt not, if you hear I am beaten, 
but yon will hear at the same time that we have done our du^ 
in fighting as long as there is a shadow of hope.'' 

The fact is, that Washington was in a high state of military 
exoiteoient. He was a yonng soldier ; had been for the first time 
in action, and been suocessfcd. The letters we have already 
quoted show, in some degree, the fervor of his mind, and his 
readiness to brave the worst ; but a short letter, written to one 
of his brothers, on the 31st, lays open the recesses of his heart. 

^^ We expect every hour to be attacked by superior force ; but 
if they forbear but one day longer we shall be prepared for them. 
• • • • We have already got intrenchments, and are about 
a palisade, which, I hope, will be finished to-day. The Mingoes 
have struck the French, and, I hope, will give a good blow 
before they have done. I expect forty odd of them here to-night, 
which, with our fort, and some reinforcements from Colonel Fry, 
will enable us to exert our noble courage with spirit." 

Alluding in a postscript to the late affur, he adds : '' I fortu- 
nately escaped without any wound ; for the right wing, where I 
stood, was exposed to, and received, aU the enemy's fire ; and it 
was the part where the man was killed and the rest wounded. / 
heard the bullets whistle^ andy believe me, there is something 
charming in the saund.^^ 

This rodomontade, as Horace Walpole terms it, reached the 
ears of George 11. " He would not say so," observed the king, 
dryly, " if he had been used to hear many." • 

* This aneodolte has hitherto rested on the anthority of Horace Wal^ 
pole, who gives it in his memoirs of George IL, and in his correspondeneei 
He cites the rodomontade as contained in the express despatched by Wash- 

112 LlFfi OF WASHIKaTpK. [I764w 

Washington himself thought so when more experienced in 
warfare. Being asked, many years afterwards, whether he really 
had made saoh a speech about the whistling of bullets, '^ If I said 
so," replied he quietly, " it was when I was young." • He was, 
indeed, but twenty-two years old when he said it; it was just 
after his first battle ; he was flushed with success, and was writ* 
ing to a brother. 

ington, whom he pronounces a "bravo braggart" As no detpatoh of 
Washington contains any rodomontade of the kind; as it is quite at yari- 
ance with the general tenor of his character; and as Horace Walpole is 
well known to hare been a " great gossip dealer," apt to catch up any idle 
rumor that would give piquancy to a paragraph, the story has been held 
in great distrust. We met with the letter recently, however, in a column 
of the London Magadne for 1754, page 870, into which it must hare found 
its way not long after it was written. 

* Gordon, Hist Am. War, vol il, p^ 208. 




Scarcity began to preyail in the camp. Contracts had been 
made with George Croghan for floor, of which he had large quan- 
tities at his frontier establishment ; for he was now trading with 
the army as well as with the Indians. None, however, made its 
appearance. There was mismanagement in the commissariat. 
At one time the troops were six days without floor ; and eyen then 
had only a casual supply from an Ohio trader. In this time of 
scarcity the half-king, his fellow sachem, Soarooyadi, and thirty 
or forty warriors, arrived, bringing with them their wives and 
children — so many more hongry months to be sopplied. Wash- 
ington wrote orgently to Croghan to s^d forward aU the floor he 
ooold furnish. 

News came of the death of Colonel Fry at Wills' Creek, and 

114 LIFK OF WA8HIK0T0N. [1754. 

ihat he was to be succeeded in the command of the eaqpediticm 
by Colonel Innes of North Carolina, who was actnallj at Win- 
chester with three hundred and fifty North Carolina troops. 
Washington, who felt the increasing responsibilities and difficul- 
ties of his situation, rejoiced at the prospect of being under the 
command of an experienced officer, who had served in company 
with his brother Lawrence at the siege of Carthagena. The 
colonel, howeyer, never came to the camp, nor did the North 
Carolina troops render any service in the campaign — the fortunes 
of which might otherwise have been very different 

By the death of Fry, the command of the rei^ment de- 
volved on Washington. Finding a blank major's commission 
among Fry's papers, he gave it to Captain Adam Stephens, who 
had conducted himself with spirit. As there would necessarily 
be other changes, he wrote to Governor Dinwiddie in behalf of 
Jacob Van Braam. '' He has acted as captain ever since we left 
Alexandria. He is an experienced officer, and worthy of the 
command he has enjoyed." 

The palisaded fort was now completed, and was named Fort 
Necessity, from the pinching famine that had prevailed during 
its construction. The scanty force in camp was augmented to 
three hundred, by the arrival from Wills' Creek of the men who 
had been under Colonel Fry. With them came the surgeon of 
the regiment. Dr. James Craik, a Scotchman by birth, and one 
destined to become a faithful and confidential friend of Washiog* 
ton for the remainder of his life. 

A letter from Governor Dinwiddie announced, however, that 
Captain Mackay would soon arrive with an independent company 
of one hundred men, from South Carolina. 

The title of independent company had a sound ominous of 


toonble. TriDops of tbe kind, raised in ihe oolonies, under direc- 
tion of the goyemors, were paid by the Crown, and the officers 
had king's commissions; snoh, doubtless, had Captain Ma<^ay. 
" I should have been particularly obliged," writes Washington to 
Governor Binwiddie, ^* if you had declared whether he was under 
my command, or independent of it. I hope he will have more 
sense than to insist upon any unreasonable distinction, because he 
and his officers have commissions from his majesty. Let him 
consider, though we are greatiiy inferior in respect to advantages 
of profit, yet we have the same spirit to serve our gracious king 
as they have, and are as ready and willing to sacrifice our lives 
for our country's good. And here, once more, and for the last 
time, I must say, that it will be a circumstance which will act 
upon some officers of this regiment, above all measure, to be 
obliged to serve upon such different terms, when their lives, their 
fortunes, and their operations are equally, and, I dare say, as 
efiectually exposed as those of others, who are happy enough to 
have the king's commission." 

On the 9th arrived Washington's early instructor in militaiy 
tactics. Adjutant Muse, recently appointed a major in the r^- 
ment. He was accompanied by Montour, the Indian interpreter, 
now a provincial captain, and brought with him nine swivels, and 
a small supply of powder and balL Fifty or sixty horses were 
forthwith sent to Wills' Creek, to bring on further supplies, and 
Mr. Gist was urged to hasten forward the artillery. 

Major Muse was likewise the bearer of a belt of wampum and 
a speech, from (Governor Binwiddie to the half king ; with medals 
for the chiefs, and goods for presents among the friendly Indians, 
a measure which had been suggested by Washington. They 
were distributed with that grand ceremonial so dear to the red 


man. The chiefs assembled, painted and decorated in all their 
sayage finery ; Washington wore a medal sent to him by the gov- 
ernor for such occasions. The wampum and speech haying been 
delivered, he advanced, and with all due solemnity, decorated the 
chiefs and warriors with the medals, which they were to wear in 
remembrance of their father the King of England. 

Among the warriors thus decorated was a son of Queen Ali- 
quippa, the savage princess whose good graces Washington had 
secured in the preceding year, by the present of an old watch- 
coat, and whose friendship was important, her town being at no 
great distance from the French fort. She had requested that her 
son might be admitted into the war councils of the camp, and re- 
ceive an English name. The name of Fairfax was accordingly 
given to him, in the customary Indian form ; the half-king being 
desirous of like distinction, received Uie name of Binwiddie. The 
sachems returned the compliment in kind, by giving Washington 
the name of Oonnotaucarius ; ^e meaning of which is not ez- 

William Fair&z, Washington's paternal adviser, had recently 
counselled him by letter, to have public prayers in his camp ; es- 
pecially when there were Indian families there ; this was accord- 
ingly done at the encampment in the Great Meadows, and it cer- 
tainly was not one of the least striking pictures presented in this 
wild campaign — ^the youthful commander, presiding with calm 
seriousness over a motley assemblage of half-equipped soldiery, 
leathern-clad hunters and woodsmen, and painted savages with 
their wives and diildren, and uniting them all in solemn devotion 
by his own example and demeanor. 

On the 10th there was agitation in the camp. Scouts hurried 
in with word, as Washington understood them, that a party of 

17M.] ALARMS. 117 

Binety Frenchmen were approaching. He instantly ordered ont 
a hnndred and fifty of his best men ; put himself at dieir head, 
and leaying Major Mnse with the reat, to man the fort and mount 
the swiyels, sallied forth ** in the full hope " as he afterwards 
wrote to Governor Binwiddie, " of procuring him another present 
of French prisoners." 

It was another efierrescence of his youthful military ardor, 
and doomed to disappointment The report of the scouts had 
been either exaggerated or misunderstood. The ninety Frendi- 
men in military array dwindled down into nine Frendi deserters. 

According to their account, the fort at the fork was com- 
pleted, and named Dnqnesne, in honor of the Gtotemor of Canada. 
It was proof against all attack, excepting with bombs, on the 
land side. The garrison did not exceed five hundred, J)ut two 
hundred more were hourly expected, and nine hundred in the 
course of a fortnight. 

Washington's su^icions with respect to La Force's party 
were justified by the report of these deserters ; they had been sent 
out as spies, and were to show the summons if discovered or over- 
powered. The French commander, they added, had been blamed 
fmr sending out so small a party. 

On the same day Captain Mackay arrived, with his independ- 
ent company of South Carolinians. The cross-purposes which 
Washington had apprehended, soon manifested themselves. The 
captain was civil and well disposed, but full of formalities and 
points of etiquette. Holding a commission direct from the king, 
ho could not bring himself to acknowledge a provincial of&cer as 
his superior. He encamped separately, kept separate guards, 
wodd not agree that Washington should assign any rallying 
place lor his men in case of alarm, and objected to receive from 


him the parole and oountersign, though necessary for their oom- 
mon safety. 

Washington conducted hiiiself with circumspection, ayoiding 
every thing that might call up a question of command, and rea- 
soning calmly wheneyer such question occurred ; but he urged the 
governor by letter, to prescribe their relative rank and authority. 
'^ He thinks you have not a power to give commissions that will 
conmiand him. If so, I can very confidently say that his absence 
would tend to the public advantage." 

On the 11 th of June, Washington resumed the laborious 
march for Redstone Creek. As Captain Maokay could not 
oblige his men to work on the road unless they were allowed a 
shilling sterling a day ; and as Washington did not choose to pay 
this, nor to suffer them to march at their ease while his own folth- 
fa\ soldiers were laboriously employed ; he left the caption and 
his Independent company as a guard at Fojt Necessity, and un- 
dertook to complete the military road with his own men. 

Accordingly, he and his Virginia i^oops toiled forward through 
Uie narrow defiles of the mountains, working on the road as they 
went. Scouts were sent out in all directions, to prevent surprise. 
While on the march he was continually beset by sachems, with 
their tedious ceremonials and speeches, all to very little purpose. 
Some of these chiefs were secretly in the French interest ; few 
rendered any real assistance, and all expected presents. 

At Gist's establishment, about thirteen miles from Fort Ne- 
cessity, Washington received certain intelligence that ample rein- 
forcements had arrived at Fort Duquesne, and a large force would 
instantly be detached against him. Coming to a halt, he b^^ 
to throw up intrenchments, calling in two foraging parties, and 
Biding word to Captain Madcay to join him with all speed. The 


captain and his company arrived in the evening; the foraging 
parties the next morning. A oonneil of war was held, in which 
the idea of awaiting the enemy at Ihis place was nnanimonsly 

A rapid and toilsome retreat ensued. There was a deficiency 
of horses. Washington gave up his own to aid in transporting 
the military munitions, leaving his haggage to be brought on by 
soldiers, whom he paid liberally. The other officers followed his 
example. The weather was sultry ; the roads were rough ; pro- 
visions were scanty, and the men dispirited by hunger. The 
Virginian soldiers took turns to drag the swivels, but felt almost 
insulted by the conduct of the South OaroHmans, who, piquing 
themselves upon their assumed privileges as '' king's soldiers," 
sauntered along at their ease ; refusing to act as pioneers, or par- 
ticipate in the extra labors incident to a hurried retreat 

On the 1st of July they reached the Great Meadows. Here 
the Virginians, exhausted by fatigue, hunger, and vexation, de- 
clared they would carry the baggage and drag the swivels no fur- 
ther. Contrary to his original intentions, therefore, Washington 
determined to halt here for the present, and fortify, sending off 
expresses to hasten supplies and reinforcements from Wills' 
Greek, where he had reason to believe that two independent com- 
panies from New York, were by this time arrived. 

The retreat to the Great Meadows had not been in the least 
too precipitate. Captain de Villiers, a brother-in-law of Jumon- 
ville, had actually sallied forth from Fort Duquesne at the head 
of upwards of five hundred French, and several hundred Indians, 
eager to avenge the death of his relative. Arriving about dawn 
of day at Gist's plantation, he surrounded the works which Wash- 
ington had hastily thrown up there, and fired into them. Finding 


them deserted, he concluded that those of whom he came in search 
had made good their retreat to the settlements, and it waA too late 
to pursue them. He was 0% the point of returning to Fort Dn- 
quesne, when a deserter arriyed, who gave word that Washington 
had come to a halt in the Great Meadows, where his troops were 
in a starring condition; for his own part, he added, hearing 
that the French were coming, he had deserted to them to escape 

De Villiers ordered the fellow into confinement; to be rewarded 
if his words jMroyed true, otherwise to be hanged. He then 
pushed forward for the Great Meadows.* 

In the mean time Washington had exerted himself to enlarge 
and strengthen Fort Necessity, nothing of which had been done 
by Captain Mackay and his men, while encamped there. The 
fort was about a hundred feet square, protected by trenches and 
palisades. It stood on the margin of a small stream, nearly in 
the centre of the Great Meado¥rs, which is a grassy plain, per« 
fectly level, surrounded by wooded hills of a moderate height, 
and at that place about two hundred and fifty yards wide. Wash- 
ingtcHi asked no assistance from the South Carolina troops, but 
set to work with his Virginians, animating them by word and ex- 
ample; sharing in the labor of felling trees, hewing off the 
branches, and rolling up the trunks to form a breastwork. 

At this critical juncture he was deserted by his Indian allies. 
They were disheartened at the scanty preparations .for defence 
against a superior force, and offended at being subjected to mili- 
tary command. The half-king thou^t he had not been suffi- 
ciently consulted, and that his advice had not been sufficiently 

* Haiard's lUgitt^r of PenntylYAniA, vol iT.» p. 81. 


followed ; such, at least, were some of the reasons which he sob- 
seqaentlj gave for abandoning the youthful commander on the ap- 
proach of danger. The true reason was a desire to put his wife 
and children in a place of safety. Most of his warriors followed 
his example ; yery few, and those probably who had no families 
at risk, remained in the camp. 

Early in the morning of the 3d, while Washington and his 
men were working on the fort, a sentinel came in wounded 
and bleeding, having been fired upon. Scouts brought word 
shortly afterwards that the French were in force, about four miles 
oK Washington drew up his men on leyel ground outside of 
the works, to await their attack. About 1 1 o'clock there was a 
firing of musketry from among trees on rising ground, but so dis- 
tant as to do no harm; suspecting this to be a stratagem designed 
to draw his men into the woods, he ordered them to keep quiet, 
and refrain from firing until the foe should show themselyes, and 
draw near. 

The firing was kept up, but still under coyer. He now fell 
back with his men into the trenches, ordering them to fire when- 
ever they could get sight of an enemy. In this way there was 
skirmishing throughout the day; the French and Indians advan- 
cing as near as the covert of the woods would permit, which in the 
nearest place was sixty yards, but never into open sight. In the 
meanwhile the rain fell in torrents; the harassed and jaded 
troops were half drowned in their trenches, and many of their 
muskets were rendered unfit for use. 

About eight at night the French requested a parley. Wash- 
ington hesitated. It might be a stratagem to gain admittance 
for a spy into the fort. The request was repeated, with the ad- 
dition that an officer might be sent to treat with them, under their 

Vol. L— 6 


parole for his safety. Unfortunately the Chevalier de Pey- 
ronney, engineer of the regiment, and the only one who could 
speak French correctly, was wounded and disabled. Washing* 
ton had to send, therefore, his ancient swordsman and interpreter, 
Jacob Van Braam. The captain returned twice with separate 
terms, in which the garrison was required to surrender; both were 
rejected. He returned a third time, with written articles of 
capitulation. They were in French. As no implements for writ- 
ing were at hand. Van Braam undertook to translate them by 
word of mouth. A candle was brought, and held close to the 
paper while he read. The rain fell in torrents ; it was difficult 
to keep the light from being extinguished. The captain rendered 
the capitulation, article by article, in mongrel English, while 
Washington and his officers stood listening, endeayoring to disen- 
tangle the meaning. Orie article stipulated that on surrendering 
the fort they should leave all their military stores, munitions, and 
artillery in possession of the French. This was objected to, and 
was readily modified. 

The main articles, as Washington and his officers understood 
them, were, that they should be allowed to return to the settle- 
ments without molestation from French or Indians. That they 
should march out of the fort with the honors of war, drums beat- 
ing and colors flying, and with all their effects and military stores 
excepting the artillery, which should be destroyed. That they 
should be allowed to deposit their effects in some secret place, 
and leave a guard to protect them until they could send horses 
to bring them away ; their horses having been nearly all killed or 
lost during the action. That they should give their word of honor 
not to attempt any buildings or improvements on the lands of his 
most Christian Majesty, for the space of a year. That the 


prisoners taken in the skirmish of Jomonyille shoald be restored, 
and until their deliyery Captain Van Braam and Captain Stobo 
shoald remain with the French as hostages.* 

The next morning accordingly, Washington and his men 
marched out of their forlorn fortress with the honors of war, 
bearing with them their regimental colors, but leaving behind a 
large flag, too cumbrous to be transported. Scarcely had they 
begun their march, however, when, in defiance of the terms of 
capitulation, they were beset by a large body of Indians, allies of 
the French, who began plundering the baggage, and committing 
other irregularities. Seeing that the French did not, or could 
not, prevent them, and that all the baggage which could not be 
transported on the shouldei-s of his troops would faU into the 
hands of these savages, Washington ordered it to be destroyed, as 
well as the artillery, gunpowder, and other military stores. All 
this detained him until ten o'clock, when he set out on his melan- 
choly march. He had not proceeded above a mile when two or 
three of the wounded men were reported to be missing. He imme- 
diately detached a few men back in quest of them, and continued 
on until three miles from Fort Necessity, where he encamped for 
the night, and was rejoined by the stragglers. 

In this affair, out of the Virginia regiment, consisting of three 
hundred and five men, officers included, twelve had been killed, 
and forty-three wounded. The number killed and wounded in 

• Ilorace Walpole, in a flippant notice of this capitulation, says: "The 
Freocb have tied up the hands of an excellent fanfixron, a Major Washing- 
ton, whom they took and engaged not to serve for one year.** (Correspon- 
dence, vol. iii., p. 73.) Walpole, at this early date, seems to have consid- 
ered Washington a perfect fire-eater. 


Captain Mackay's company is not known« The loss of the 
French and Indians is supposed to have been much greater. 

In the followiug days' march the troops seemed jaded and 
disheartened ; they were encumbered and delayed by the wounded ; 
provisions were scanty, and they had seventy weary miles to ac- 
complish before they could meet with supplies. Washington, 
however, encouraged them by his own steadfast and cheerful 
demeanor, and by sharing all their toils and privations ; and at 
length conducted them in safety to Wilb' Creek, where they found 
ample provisions in the military magazines. Leaving them here 
to recover their strength, he proceeded with Captain Mackay to 
Williamsburg, to make his military report to the governor. 

A copy of the capitulation was subsequently laid before the 
Virginia House of Burgesses, with explanations. Notwithstand- 
ing the unfortunate result of the campaign, the conduct of Wash- 
ington and his oflBoers was properly appreciated, and they received 
a vote of thanks for their bravery, and gallant defence of their 
country. Three hundred pistoles (nearly eleven hundred dollars) 
also were voted to be distributed among the privates who had 
been in action. 

From the vote of thanks, two officers were excepted ; Major 
Muse, who was charged with cowardice, and Washington's unfor- 
tunate master of fence and blundering interpreter, Jacob Van 
Braam, who was accused of treachery, in purposely mbinterpreting 
the articles of capitulation. 

In concluding this chapter, we will anticipate dates to record 
the fortunes of the half-king after his withdrawal from the camp. 
He and several of his warriors, with their wives and children, 
retreated to Aughquick, in the back part of Pennsylvania, where 
George Croghan had an agency, and was allowed money from 


time to time for the maintenance of Indian allies. By the by, 
Washington, in his letter to William Fairfax, expressed himself 
much disappointed in Croghan and Montoor, who proved, he said, 
to be great pretenders, and by vainly boasting of their interest 
with the Indians, involved the country in great calamity, causing 
dependence to be placed where there was none." • For, with all 
their boast, they never could induce above thirty fighting men to 
join the camp, and not more than half of those rendered any 

As to the half-king, he expressed himself perfectly disgusted 
with the white man's mode of warfare. The French, he said, 
were cowards ; the English, fools. Washington was a good man, 
but wanted experience : he would not take advice of the Indians, 
and was always driving them to fight according to his own no- 
tions. For this reason he (the half-king) had carried o£f his wife 
and children to a place of safety. 

After a time the chieftain fell dangerously ill, and a conjurer 
or/' medicine man " was summoned to inquire into the cause or 
nature of his malady. He gave it as his opinion that the French 
had bewitched him, in revenge for the great blow he had struck 
them in the afiair of Jumonville ; for the Indians gave him the 
whole credit of that success, he having sent round the French 
scalps as trophies. In the opinion of the conjurer all the friends 
of the diieftain concurred, and on his death, which took place 
shortly afterwards, there was great lamentation, mingled with 
threats of immediate vengeance. The foregoing particulars are 
gathered from a lettor written by John Harris, an Indian trader, 
to the Governor of Pennsylvania, at the request of the half-king's 

• Letter to W. Fairfax, Aug. 11th, 1*754* 


friend and fellow sachem, Manacatoocba, otherwise called Scarce- 
yadL " I humbly presume," concludes John Harris, " that his 
death is a very great loss, especially at this critical time." * 


We have been thus particular in tracing the affair of the Great 
Meadows, step by step, guided by the statements of Washington him- 
self and of one of his ofBcers, present in the engagement, because it is 
another of the events in the early stage of his military career, before the 
justice and magnanimity of his character were snfBciently established, 
which have been subject to misrepresentation. When the articles of 
capitulation came to be correctly translated and published, there were 
passages in them derogatory to the honor of Washington and his 
troops, and which, it would seem, had purposely been inserted for 
their humiliation by the French commander ; but which, they protest- 
ed, had never been rightly translated by Van Braam. For instance, 
in the written articles, they were made to stipulate that fpr the space 
of a year, they would not work on any establishment beyond the 
mountains ; whereas it had been translated by Yan Braam " on any 
establishment on the lands of the king of France^^ which was quite 
another thing, as most of the land beyond the mountains was consid- 
ered by them as belongiug to the British crown. There were other 
points, of minor importance, relative to the disposition of the artiUery ; 
but the most startling and objectionable one was tliat concerning the 
previous skirmish in the Great Meadows. This was mentioned in the 
written articles as PassasHnat du Sieur ds JumonMle^ that is to say, 
the murder of De Jumonville ; an expression from which Washington 
and his officers would have revolted with scorn and indignation; and 
which, if truly translated, would in all probability have caused the 
capitulation to be sent back instantly to the French commander. On 
the contraxy, they declared it had been translated to them by Yan 
Braam the death of De Jumonville. 

M. de YiUiers, in his account of this transaction to the French 
government, avails himself of these passages in the capitulation to cast 
a slur on the conduct of Washington. He says, *^ We made the £ng- 

• Pennsylvaiiia Archivee, voL il, p. 178. 


lish consent to sign that thej had assassinated my brother in his 
camp." — *^We caused them to abandon the lands belonging to the 
king. — We obliged them to leave their cannon, which consisted 
of nine pieces, &c." He farther adds: '^The English, strack with 
panic, took to flight, and left their flag and one of their colors." We. 
have shown that the flag left was the miwieldy one belonging to the 
fort ; too cnmbrons to be transported by troops who conld not carry 
their own necessary baggage. The regimental colors, as honorable 
symbols, were scmpnloiisly carried off by Washington, and retained by 
him in after years. 

M. de Villiers adds another incident intended to degrade his 
enemy. He says, *^ One of my Indians took ten Englishmen, whom 
he bronght to me, and whom I sent back by another." These, donbt- 
lesa, were the men detached by Washington in quest of the wonnded 
loiterers ; and who, understanding neither French nor Indian, fomid a 
difficalty in explaining their peaoefol errand. That they were cap- 
tared by the Indian seems too much of a gasconade. 

The pnblic opinion at the time was that Yan Braam had been 
sabomed by De Yilliers to soften the offensive articles of the capitula- 
tion in translating them, so that they should not wound the pride nor 
awaken the scruples of Washington and his officers, yet should stand 
on record against them. It is not probable that a French officer of 
De Villiers* rank would practise such a base perfidy, nor does the sub- 
sequent treatment experienced by Yan Braam firom the French cor- 
roborate the charge. It is more than probable the inaccuracy of 
translation originated in his ignorance of the precise weight and value 
of words in the two languages^ neither of which was native to tdm^ 
and between which he was the blundering agent of exchange. 



Early in Aogast Washington rejoined his regiment, which had 
arrived at Alexandria by the way of Winchester. Letters from 
Governor Dinwiddie urged him to recruit it to the former number 
of three hundred men, and join Colonel Innes at Wills' Creek, 
where that officer was stationed with Mackay's independent com- 
pany of South Carolinians, and two independent companies from 
New Fork ; and had been employed in erecting a work to serve 
as a frontier post and rallying point ; which work received the 
name of Fort Cumberland, in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, 
captain-general of the British army. 

In the mean time the French, elated by their recent triumph, 
and thinking no danger ^t hand, relaxed their vigilance at Fort 
Duquesne. Stobo, who was a kind of prisoner at large there, 
found means to send a letter secretly by an Indian, dated July 

1754] LETTER OF STOBO. 129 

28, and directed to the commander of the English troops. It was 
accompanied by a plan of the ft>rt. "There are two hundred 
men here," writes he, " and two hundred expected ; the rest have 
gone off in detachments to the amount of one thousand, besides 
Indians. None lodge in the fort but Contrecoenr and the guards 
consisting of forty men and five officers ; the rest lodge in bark 
cabins around the fort The Indians have access day and night, 
and come and go when they please. If one hundred trusty 
Shawnees, Mingoes, and Delawares were picked out, they might 
surprise the fort, lodging themselves under the paUsades by day, 
and at night secure the guard with their tomahawks, shut the 
sally-gate, and the fort is ours." 

One part of Stobo's letter breathes a loyal and generous 
spirit of self-devotion. Alluding to the danger in which he 
and Van Braam, his fellow-hostage, might be involved, he says, 
^Consider the good of the expedition without regard to us. 
When we engaged to serve the country it was expected we were 
to do it with our lives. For my part, I would die a hundred 
deaths to have the pleasure of possessing this fort but one day. 
They are so vain of their success at the Meadows it is worse than 
death to hear them. Haste to strike." * 

The Indian messenger carried the letter to Aughquick and 
delivered it into the hands of George Groghan. The Indian 
chiefs who were with him insisted upon his opening it He did 
so, but on finding the tenor of it, transmitted it to the Governor 
of Pennsylvania. The secret information communicated by 
Stobo, may have been the cause of a project sudd^aly conceived 
by Governor Dinwiddle, of a detachment which, by a forced 

* Hosard's Register ol Penn., iy.» 829. 
Vol. I.— 6* 


march across the mountains, might descend npon the French and 
take Fort Duquesne at a single hlow; or, failing that, might 
build a rival fort in its vicinity. He accordingly wrote to 
Washington to march forthwith for Wills' Creek, with such com- 
panies as were complete, leaving orders with the officers to follow 
as soon as they should have enlisted men sufficient to make up 
their companies. " The season of the year," added he, " calls for 
despatch. I depend upon your usual diligence and spirit to en- 
courage your people to be active on this occasion." 

The ignorance of Dinwiddle in military affairs, and his want 
of forecast, led him perpetually into blunders. Washington saw 
the rashness of an attempt to dispossess the French with a force 
so inferior that it could be harassed and driven from place to 
place at their pleasure. Before the troops could be collected, 
and munitions of war provided, the season would be too far ad- 
vanced. There would be no forage for the horses ; the streams 
would be swollen and unfordable ; the mountains rendered impas- 
sable by snow, and frost, and slippery roads. The men, too, un- 
used to campaigning on the frontier, would not be able to endure 
a winter in the wilderness, with no better shelter than a tent ; 
especially in their present condition, destitute of almost every 
thing. Such are a few of the cogent reasons urged by Washing- 
ton in a letter to his friend William Fairfax, then in the House 
of Burgesses, which no doubt was shown* to Governor Dinwiddle, 
and probably had an effect in causing the rash project to be 

The governor, in truth, was sorely perplexed about this time 
by contradictions and cross-purposes, both in military and civil 
affairs. A body of three hundred and fifty North Carolinian 
troops had been enlisted at high pay, and were to form the chief 


reinforcement of Colonel Innes at Wills' Greek. Bj the time 
thej reached Winchester, however, the provincial military chest 
was exhausted, and f atore paj seemed uncertain ; whereupon thej 
refused to serve any longer, disbanded themselves tumultuouslj, 
and set off for their homes without taking leave. 

The governor found the House of Burgesses equally unmanage- 
able. His demands for supplies were resisted on what h^ consid- 
ered presumptuous pretexts ; or granted sparingly, under mortify- 
ing restrictions. His high Tory notions were outraged by such 
republican conduct. <' There appears to me," said he, ^* an in- 
fatuation in all the assemblies in this part of the world." 
In a letter to the Board of Trade he declared that the only way 
effectually to check the progress of the French, would ]i>e an act 
of parliament requiring Uie colonies to contribute to the common 
cause, independently of assemblies ; and in another, to the Sec- 
retary of State, he urged the policy of compelling the colonies to 
their duty to the king by a general poll-tax of two and sixpence 
a head. The worthy governor would have made a fitting coun- 
sellor for the Stuart dynasty. Subsequent events have shown 
how little his policy was suited to compete with the dawning 
republicanism of America. 

In the month of October the House of Burgesses made a 
grant of twenty thousand pounds for the public service ; and ten 
thousand more were sent out from England, beside a supply of 
firearms. The governor now implied himself to military matters 
with renewed spirit ; increased the actual force to ten companies ; 
and, as there had been difficulties among the different kinds of 
troops wiUi regard to precedence, he reduced them all to inde- 
pendent companies; so that there would be no officer in a Vir- 
ginia regiment above the rank of captain. 


This shrewd measure, upon which Dinwiddie secretly prided 
himself as calculated to put an end to the difficulties in question, 
immediately drove "Washington out of the service ; considering it 
derogatory to his character to accept a lower commission than 
that under which his conduct had gained him a vote of thanks 
from the Legislature. 

Governor Sharpe, of Maryland, appointed by the king com- 
mander-in-chief of all the forces engaged against the French, 
sought to secure his valuable services, and auUiorized Colonel 
Fitxhugh, whom he had placed in temporary command of the 
army, to write to him to that effect. The reply of Washington 
(15th Nov.) is full of dignity and spirit, and shows how deeply 
he felt his military degradation. 

" You make mention," says he, " of my continuing in the ser- 
vice and retaining my colonel's commission. This idea has filled 
me with surprise ; for if you think me capable of holding a com- 
mission that has neither rank nor emolument annexed to it, you 
must maintain a very contemptible opinion of my weakness, and 
believe me more empty than the commission itself." After inti- 
mating a suspicion that the project of reducing the regiment into 
independent companies, and thereby throwing out the higher offi- 
cers, was '' generated and hatched at Wills' Greek," — ^in other 
words, was an expedient of Governor Dinwiddie, instead of being 
a peremptory order from England, he adds, '' Ingenuous treat- 
ment and plain dealing I at least expected. It is to be hoped 
the project will answer ; it shall meet with my acquiescence in 
every thing except personal services. I herewith inclose Gov- 
ernor Sharpe's letter, which I beg you will return to him with 
my acknowledgments for the favor he intended me. Assure 
him, sir, as you truly may, of my reluctance to quit the service, 


and the plea£;nre I sboold hare received in attending his for- 
tunea Inform him, also, that it was to obey the call of honor 
and the advice of my friends that I declined it, and not to gratify 
any desire I had to leave the military line. My feelings are 
strongly bent to arms." 

Even had Washington hesitated to take this step, it wonld 
have been forced npon him by a further regulation of government, 
in the course of the ensuing winter, settling the rank of officers of 
his majesty's forces when joined or serving with the provincial 
forces in North America, " which directed that all such as were 
commissioned by the king, or by his general commander-in-chief 
in North America, should take rank of all officers commissioned by 
the governors of the respective provinces. And further, that the 
general and field officers of the provincial troops should have no 
rank when serving with the general and field officers commissioned 
by the crown ; but that all captains and other inferior officers of 
the royal troops should take rank over provincial officers of the 
same grade, having older commissions." 

Thesd regulations, originating in that supercilious assumption 
of superiority which sometimes overruns and degrades true Brit- 
ish pride, would have been spumed by Washington, as insulting 
to the character and conduct of his high-minded brethren of the 
colonies. How much did this open disparagement of colonial 
honor and understandbg, contribute to wean from England the 
affection of her American subjects, and prepare the way for their 
ultimate assertion of independence. 

Another cause of vexation to Washington was-the refusal of 
Governor Dinwiddie to give up the French prisoners, taken in tho 
affair of De Jumonville, in fulfilment of the articles of capitula- 
tion. His plea was, that since the capitulation, the French had 


taken several British sabjects, and sent them prisoners to Canada ; 
he considered himself justifiable in detaining those Frenchmen 
which he had in his custody. He sent a flag of truce, however, 
offering to return the officer Drouillon, and the two cadets, in ex- 
change for Captains Stobo and Van Braam, whom the French 
held as hostages ; but his offer was treated with merited disre- 
gard. Washington felt deeply mortified by this obtuseness of the 
governor on a point of military punctilio and honorable faith, but 
his remonstrances were unavailing. 

The French prisoners were clothed and maintained at the pub- 
lic expense, and Drouillon and the cadets were allowed to go at 
large ; the private soldiers were kept in confinement. La Force, 
also, not having acted in a military capacity, and having offended 
against the peace and security of the frontier, by his intrigues 
among the Indians, was kept in close durance. Washington, who 
knew nothing of this, was shocked on visiting Williamsburg, to 
learn that La Force was in prison. He expostulated with the 
governor on the subject, but without effect ; Dinwiddle was at all 
times pertinacious, but particularly so when he felt himself to be 
a little in the wrong. 

As we shall have no further occasion to mention La Force, in 
connection with the subject of this work, we will anticipate a 
page of his fortunes. After remaining two years in confinement 
he succeeded in breaking out of prison, and escaping into the 
country. An alarm was given, and circulated far and wide, for 
such was the opinion of his personal strength, desperate courage, 
wily cunning, and great influence over the Indians, that the most 
mischievous results were apprehended should he regain the fron- 
tier. In the mean time he was wandering about the country 
ignorant of the roads, and fearing to make inquiries, lest his 


foreign tongae should betray him. He reached King and Queen 
Court House, about thirty miles from Williamsburg, when a coun- 
tryman was struck with his foreign air and aspect. La Force 
ventured to put a question as to the distance and direction of 
Fort Duquesne, and his broken English convinced the countryman 
of his being the French prisoner, whose escape had been noised 
about the country. Watching an opportunity he seized him, and 
regardless of offers of great bribes, conducted him back to the 
prison of Williamsburg, where he was secured with double irons, 
and chained to the floor of his dungeon. 

The refusal of Governor Dinwiddle to fulfil the article of the 
capitulation respecting the prisoners, and ihe rigorous treatment 
of La Force, operated hardly upon the hostages, Stobo and Van 
Braam, who, in retaliation, were confined in prison in Quebec, 
though otherwise treated with kmdness. They, also, by extraor- 
dinary efforts, succeeded in breaking prison, but found it more 
difficult to evade the sentries of a fortified place. Stobo managed 
to escape into the country ; but the luckless Van Braam sought 
concealment under an arch of a causeway leading from the for- 
tress. Here he remained until nearly exhausted by hunger. 
Seemg the Qovemor of Canada passing by, and despairing of 
being able to effect his escape, he came forth from his hiding 
place, and surrendered himself, invoking his clemency. He was 
remanded to prison, but experienced no additional severity. He 
was subsequently shipped by the governor from Quebec to Eng- 
land, and never returned to Virginia. It is this treatment of 
Van Braam, more than any thing else, which convinces us that 
the suspicion of his being in collusion with the French in regard 
to the misinterpretation of the articles 9i capitulation, was 
groundless. He was simply a blunderer. 


RirrnRN to quir life — ^fbenoh akd enoush pbxpabk fob BosnLmsa— 







Havikg resigned bis commission, and disengaged himself from 
public affairs, Washington's first care waa to visit his mother, 
inquire into the state of domestic concerns, and attend to the 
welfare of his brothers and sisters. In these matters he was ever 
his mother's adjunct and counsellor, discharging faithfully the 
duties of an eldest son, who should consider himself a second 
father to the family. 

He now took up his abode at Mount Vernon, and prepared to 
engage in those agricultural pursuits, for which, even in his youth« 
ful days, he had as keen a relish as for the profession of arms. 


Scarcely had he entered upon his rural occupations, however, 
when the service of his country once more called him to the 

The disastrous affiiir at the. Great Meadows, and the other 
acts of French hostility on the Ohio, had roused the attention of 
the British ministry. Their ambassador at Paris was instructed 
to complain of those violations of the peace. The court of 
Versailles amused him with general assurances of amity, and a 
strict adherence to treaties. Their ambassador at the court of 
St. James, the Marquis de Mirepoiz, on the faith of his instruc- 
tions, gave the same assurances. In the mean time, however, 
French ships were fitted out, and troops embarked, to carry out 
the schemes of the government in America. So profound was 
the dissimulation of the court of Yeraailles, that even their own 
ambassador is said to have been kept in ignorance of their real 
designs, and of the hostile game they were playing, while he was 
exerting himself in good faith, to lull the suspicions of England, 
and maintain the international peace. When his eyes, however, 
were opened, he returned indignantly to France, and upbraided 
the cabinet with the duplicity of which he had been made the un- 
conscious instrument. 

The British government now prepared for military operations 
in America ; none of them professedly aggressive, but rather to 
resist and counteract aggressions. A plan of campaign was de- 
vised for 1755, having four objects. 

To eject the French from lands which they held unjustly, in 
the province of Nova Scotia, 

To dislodge them from a fortress which they had erected at 
Grown Point, on Lake Champlam, within what was claimed as 
British territory. 

138 LIFB OF WASraNQTOK. [175^ 

To dispossess tbem of the fort which they had constructed at 
Niagara, between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. 

To drive them from the frontiers of Pennsjlyania and Yir* 
ginia, and recover the valley of the Ohio. 

The Duke of Cumberland, captain-general of the British 
army, had the organization of this campaign; and through his 
patronage. Major-general Edward Braddock was intrusted with 
the execution of it, being appointed generalissimo of all the forces 
in the colonies. 

Braddock was a veteran in service, and had been upwards of 
forty years in the guards, that school of exact discipline and 
technical punctilio. Cumberland, who held a commission in the 
guards, and was bigoted to its routine, may have considered 
Braddock fitted, by his skill and preciseness as a tactician, for a 
command in a new country, inexperienced in military science, 
to bring its raw levies into order, and to settle those questions of 
rank and etiquette apt to arise where regular and provincial troops 
are to act together. 

The result proved the error of such an opinion. Braddock 
was a brave and experienced officer ; but hb experience was that 
of routine, and rendered him pragmatical and obstinate, impatient 
of novel expedients ^' not laid down in the books," but dictated 
by emergencies in a '^ new country," and his military precision, 
which would have been brilliant on parade, was a constant 
obstacle to alert action in the wilderness.* 

* Iloracc Walpole, in his letters, relates some anecdotes of Braddock, 
which give a familiar pictare of him in the fashionable life in which he had 
mingled in London, and are of valae, as letting us into the private charac- 
ter of a man whose name has become proverbial in American history. 
'* Braddock," says Walpole, " is a very Iroquois in disposition. He had a 


Braddook was to lead in person the grand enterprise of the 
campaign, that destined for the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsjl* 
Tania ; it was the enterprise in which Washington became en- 
listed, and, therefore, claims our especial attention. 

Prior to the arrival of Braddock, came ont from England 
Lientenant-colonel Sir John St Glair, depntj quartermaster- 
general, eager to make himself acquainted with the field of oper- 
ations. He made a tour of inspection, in company with Governor 
Sharpe, of Maryland, and appears to have been dismayed at sight 
of the impracticable wilderness, the region of Washington's cam- 
paign. From Fort Cumberland, he wrote in February to Gov- 
ernor Morris, of Pennsylvania, to have Uie road cut, or repaired, 
toward the head of the river Youghiogeny, and another opened 
from Philadelphia for the transportation of supplies. '^ No 
general," writes he, "will advance with an army without hav- 
ing a communication open to the provinces in his rear, both 
for the security of retreat, and to facilitate the transport of pro- 
visions, the supplying of which must greatly depend on your pro- 
vince." • 

lister, who, haying gamed away all her litUe fortune at Bath, hanged her-, 
self with a truly English deliberation, leaving a note on the table with 
these hum : ' To die is landing on some silent shore,' Ac When Braddock 
was told of it, he only said : ' Poor Fanny I I always thought she would 
play till she would be forced to tuck herself up/ ** 

Braddock himself had been somewhat of a spendthrift He was touchy 
also, and punotiliona " He once had a duel," says Walpole, ** with Colonel 
Glumley, Lady Bath's brother, who had been his great friend. As they 
were g^ing to engage, Glumley, who had good humor and wit (Braddock 
had the latter) said : ' Braddock, you are a poor dog I here, take my purse, 
if you kill me you will be forced to run away, and thep you will not have 
a shilling to support you.' Braddock refused the purse, insisted on the 
duel, was disarmed, and would not even ask for his life." 

* Colonial Records, tI, 800. 


Unfortunately the governor of Pennsylvania had no money at 
his command, and was obliged, for expenses, to apply to his 
Assembly, " a set of men," writes he, " quite unacquainted with 
every kind of military service, and exceedingly unwilling to part 
with money on any terms." However, by dint of exertions, he 
procured the appointment of conmiissioners to explore the coun- 
try, and survey and lay out the roads required. At the head of 
the commission was George Croghan, the Indian trader, whose 
mission to the Twightwees we have already spoken of. Times 
had gone hard with Croghan. The French had seized great 
quantities of his goods. The Indians, with whom he traded, had 
failed to pay their debts, and he had become a bankrupt Being 
an efficient agent on the frontier, and among the Indians, he still 
enjoyed the patronage of the Pennsylvania government. 

When Sir John St. Clair had finished his tour of inspection, 
he descended Wills' Creek and the Potomac for two hundred 
miles in a canoe to Alexandria, and repaired to Virginia to meet 
General Braddock. The latter had landed on the 20th of 
February at Hampton, in Virginia, and proceeded to Williams- 
burg to consult with Governor Dinwiddle. Shortly afterwards 
he was joined there by Commodore Keppel, whose squadron of 
two ships-of-war, and several transports, had anchored in the 
Chesapeake. On board of these ships were two prime regiments 
of about five hundred men each ; one commanded by Sir Peter 
Halket, the other by Colonel Dunbar; together with a train of 
artillery, and the necessary munitions of war. The regiments 
were to be augmented to seven hundred men, each by men 
selected by Sir John St. Clair from Virginia companies recently 

Alexandria was fixed upon as the place where the troops 

1755.] INDIAN ALLIES. 141 

should disembark, and encamp. The ships were aooordinglj 
ordered np to that place, and the leyies directed to repair 

The plan of the campaign included the use of Indian allies. 
Governor Dinwiddie had already sent Mr. Gist, son of the pioneer, 
Washington's guide in 1753, to engage the Cherokees and Cataw- 
bas, the bravest of the Southern tribes, who he had no doubt 
would take up the hatehet for the English, peace being first con- 
cluded, through the mediation of his government, between them 
and the Six Nations ; and he gave Braddock reason to expect at 
least four hundred Indians to join him at Fort Cumberland. He 
laid before him also contracts that he had made for cattle, and 
promises that the Assembly of Pennsylvania had made of flour ; 
these, with other supplies, and a thousand barrels of beef on 
board of the transports, would famish six months' provisions for 
four thousand men. 

General Braddock apprehended difficulty in procuring wag- 
gons and horses sufficient to attend him in his march. Sir John 
St Clair, in the course of his tour of inspection, had met wiUi two 
Dutch settlers, at the foot of the Blue Ridge, who engaged to 
furnish two hundred waggons, and fifteen hundred carrying 
horses, to be at Fort Cumberland early in May. 

Governor Sharpe was to furnish above a hundred waggons for 
the^transportation of stores, on the Maryland side of the Poto- 

Eeppel furnished four cannons from his ships, for the attack 
on Fort Duquesne, and thirty picked seamen to assist in dragging 
them over the mountdns ; for " soldiers," said he, " cannot be 
as well acquainted with the nature of purchases, and making use 
of tackles, as seamen " They were to aid also in passing the 


troops and artillery on floats or in boats, across the riyers, and 
were under the command of a midshipman and lieutenant.* 

" Every thing," writes Captain Robert Orme, one of the 
general's aides-de-camp, " seemed to promise so far the greatest 
success. The transports were all arrived safe, and the men in 
health. Provisions, Indians, carriages, and horses, were already 
provided ; at least were to be esteemed so, considering the au- 
thorities on which they were promised to the general." 

Trusting to these arrangements, Braddock proceeded to Alex- 
andria. The troops had all been disembarked before his arrival, 
and the Virginia levies selected by Sir John St. Clair, to join the 
regiments of regulars, were arrived. There were beside two compa- 
nies of hatchet men, or carpenters ; six of rangers ; and one troop 
of light horse. The levies, having been clothed, were ordered to 
march immediately for Winchester, to be armed, and the general 
gave them in charge of an ensign of the 44th, " to make them as 
like soldiers as possible." t The light horse were retained by the 
general as his escort and body guard. 

The din and stir of warlike preparation disturbed the quiet 
of Mount Vernon. Washington looked down from his rural re- 
treat upon the ships of war and transports, as they passed up the 
Potomac, with the array of arms gleaming along their decks. 
The booming of cannon echoed among his groves. Alexandria 
was but a few miles distant. Occasionally he mounted his horse, 
and rode to that place ; it was like a garrisoned town, teeming 
with troops, and resounding with the drum and fife. A brilliant 
campaign was about to open under the auspices of an experienced 
general, and with all the means and appurtenances of European 

* Keppel's Life of Keppel, p. 205. 
f Orme's Joorna]. 


warfare. How different from the starveling expeditions he had 
hitherto been doomed to conduct I What an opportunity to efface 
the memory of his recent disaster I All his thoughts of rural life 
were put to flight. The military part of his character was again 
in the ascendant ; his great desire was to join the expedition as a 

It was reported to Oeneral Braddock. The latter was ap- 
prised by Governor Dinwiddie and others, of Washington's per- 
sonal merits, his knowledge of the country, and his experience in 
frontier service. The consequence was, a letter from Captain 
Bobert Orme, one of Braddock's aides-de-camp, written by the 
general's order, inviting Washington to join his staff; the letter 
concluded with frank and cordial expressions of esteem on the 
part of Orme, which were warmly reciprocated, and laid the 
foundation of a soldierlike friendship between them. 

A volunteer situation on the staff of General Braddock offered 
no emolument nor command, and would be attended with con- 
siderable expense, beside a sacrifice of his private interests, hav- 
ing no person in whom he had confidence, to take charge of his 
affiiirs in his absence ; still he did n^t hesitate a moment to ac- 
cept the invitation. In the position offered to him, all the ques- 
tions of military rank which had hitherto annoyed hira, would be 
obviated. He could indulge his passion for arms without any 
' sacrifice of dignity, and he looked forward with high anticipation 
to an opportunity of acquiring military experience in a corps well 
organized, and thoroughly disciplined, and in the family of a 
commander of acknowledged skill 'as a tactician. 

His mother heard with concern of another projected expe* 
dition into the wilderness. Hurrying to Mount Yemon, she 
untreated him not again to expose himself to the hardships and 


perils of these frontier campaigns. She doubtless felt the value 
of his presence at home, to manage and protect the complicated 
interests of the domestic connection, and had watched with solici- 
tude over hb adventurous campaigning, where so much family 
welfare was at hazard. However much a mother's pride may 
have been gratified by his early advancement and renown, she 
had rejoiced on his return to the safer walks of peaceful life. She 
was thoroughly practical and prosaic in her notions ; and not to 
be dazzled by military glory. The passion for arms which min- 
gled with the more sober elements of Washington's character, 
would seem to have been inherited from his father's side of the 
house ; it was, in fact, the old chivalrous spirit of the De Wes- 

His mother had once prevented him from entering the navy, 
when a gallant frigate was at hand, anchored in the waters of the 
Potomac ; with all his deference for her, which he retained through 
life, he could not resist the appeal to his martial sympathies, which 
called him to the head-quarters of General Braddock at Alexandria. 

His arrival was hailed by his young associates, Captains Orme 
and Morris, the general's aides-de-camp, who at once received him 
into frank companionship, and a cordial intimacy commenced be- 
tween them, that continued throughout the campaign. 

He experienced a courteous reception from the general, who 
expressed in flattering terms the impression he had received of 
his merits. Washington soon appreciated the character of the 
general. He found him stately and somewhat haughty, exact in 
matters of military etiquette send discipline, positive in giving an 
opinion, and obstinate in maintaining it ; but of an honorable and 
generous, though somewhat irritable nature. 

There were at that time four governors, beside Binwtddie, 


assembled at Alexandria, at Braddock's request, to concert a plan 
of military operations ; Gk)vernor Shirley, of Massachusetts ; 
Lieutenant-governor Delancey, of New York; Lieutenant-gov- 
ernor Sharpe, of Maryland; Lieutenant-governor Morris, of 
Pennsylvania. Washington was presented to them in a manner 
that showed how well )iis merits were already appreciated. 
Shirley seems particularly to have struck him as the model of 
a gentleman and statesman. He was originally a lawyer, and 
had risen not more by his talents, than by his implicit devotion to 
the crown. His son TViUiam was military secretary to Braddock. 

A grand council was held on the I4th of April, composed of 
General Braddock, Commodore Keppel, and the governors, at 
which the general's commission was read, as were his instructions 
from the king, relating to a common fund, to be established by the 
several colonies, toward defraying the expenses of the campaign. 

The governors were prepared to answer on this head, letters 
to the same purport having been addressed to them by Sir Thomas 
Bobinson, one of the king's secretaries of state, in the preceding 
month of October. They informed Braddock that they had ap- 
plied to their respective Assemblies for the establishment of such 
a fund, but in vain, and gave it as their unanimous opinion, that 
such a fund could never be established in the colonies without the 
aid of Parliament. They had found it impracticable, also, to 
obtain from their respective governments the proportions expected 
from them by the crown, toward military expenses in America ; 
and suggested that ministers should find out some mode of com- 
pelling them to do it ; and that, in the mean time, the general 
should make use of his credit upon government, for current ez« 
pauses, lest the expedition should come to a stand.* 

• Colonial Reoords, yoL ti., p. 86S. 
yoL. L-7 

146 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. - [1755. 

In discussing the campaign, the goyernors were of opinion 
that New York should be made the centre of operations, as it 
afforded easy access by water to the heart of the French posses- 
sions in Canada. Braddock, however, did not feel at liberty to 
depart &om his instructions, which specified the recent establish- 
ments of the French on the Ohio as the objects of his expedit^n. 

Niagara and Crown Point were to be attacked about the same 
time with Fort Duquesne, the former by Governor Shirley, with 
his own and Sir William Pepperell's regiments, and some New 
York companies ; the latter by Colonel William Johnson, sole 
manager and director of Indian afbirs; a personage worthy of 
especial note. 

He was a native of Ireland, and had come out to this country 
in 1734, to manage the landed estates owned by his uncle. 
Commodore Sir Peter Warren, in the Mohawk country. He had 
resided ever since in the vicinity of the Mohawk Biver, in the 
province of New York. By his agency, and his dealings with 
the native tribes, he had acquired great wealth, and become a 
kind of potentate in the Indian country. His influence over the 
Six Nations was said to be unbounded; and it was principally 
with the aid of a large force of their warriors that it was expect- 
ed he would accomplish his part of the campaign. The end of 
June, " nearly in July," was fixed upon as the time when the 
several attacks upon Forts Duquesne, Niagara, and Crown Point, 
should be carried into ex6cution, and Braddock anticipated an 
easy accomplishment of his plans. 

The expulsion of the French &om the lands wrongfully held 
by them in Nova Scotia, was to be assigned to Colonel Lawrence, 
Lieutenant-governor of that province ; we will briefly add, in an* 
ticipation, that it was effisoted by him, with the aid of troops from 


Massachnsetts and elsewhere, led by Lientenant-oolonel Monck« 


The bnsiness of the Congress being fnished, General Brad- 
dock would have set out for Fredericktown, in Maryland, but few 
waggons or teams had yet come to remove the artillery. Wash- 
ington had looked with wonder and dismay at the huge parapher- 
nalia of war, and the world of superfluities to be transported 
across the mountains, recollecting the difficulties he had experi- 
enced in getting oyer them with his nine swivels and scanty 
B!q>plie& '' If our march is to be regulated by the slow move- 
ments of the train," said he, << it will be tedious, very tedious, 
indeed." His predictions excited a sarcastic smile in Braddock, 
as betraying the limited notions of a young provincial officer, lit- 
tle acquainted with the march of armies. 

In the mean while. Sir Jjohn St Glair, who had returned to the 
frontier, was storming at the camp at Fort Chmiberland. The road 
required of the Pennsylvania government had not been commenced. 
George Oroghan and the other commissioners were but just ar- 
rived in camp. Sir John, according to Oroghan, received them in 
a very disagreeable manner ; would not Ipok at their draughts, nor 
suffer any representations to be made to him in r^ard to the 
province, " but stormed like a lion rampant ; " declaring that the 
want of the road and of the provisions promised by Pennsylvania 
had retarded the expedition, and mig^t cost them their lives from 
the fresh numbers of French that might be poured into the coun- 
try. — ^^ That instead of marching to the Ohk>, he would in nine 
days march his army into Cumberland County to cut the roads, 
press horses, waggons, &c. — That he would not suffer a soldier to 
handle an axe, but by fire and sword oblige the inhabitants to do 
it * * * That he would kill all kinds of cattle, and carry 

148 LirB OF WASHINGTON. [1755. 

away the horses, bom the honses, &o. ; and that if the French 
defeated them, by the delays of Pennsylyania, he would, with his 
sword drawn, pass throngh the province and treat the inhabitants 
as a parcel of traitors to his master. That he would write to 
England by a man-of-war ; shake Mr. Penn's proprietaryship, and 
represent Pennsylyania as a disaffected province. • • • • 
He told us to go to the general, if we pleased, who would give 
us ten bad words for one that he had given^ 

The explosive wrath of Sir John, which was not to be ap- 
peased, shook the souls of the commissioners, and they wrote to 
Gbv^mor Morris, urging that people might be set at work upon 
the road, if the Assembly had made provision for opening it ; and 
that flour might be sent without delay to the mouth of Canoco« 
cheague River, ''as being the only remedy left to prevent these 
threatened mischie&" * 

In reply, Mr. Richard Peters, Governor Morris's secretary, 
wrote in his name : '' Gkt a number of hands immediately, and 
further the work by all possible methods. Your expenses will 
be paid at the next sitting of Assembly. Do your duty, and 
oblige the general and quartermaster if possibla Finish the 
road that will be wanted first, and then proceed to any other that 
may be thought necessary." 

An additional commission, of a different kind, was intrusted 
to Qeorge Oroghan. Governor Morris by letter requested him to 
convene at Aughquick, in Pennsylvania, as many warriors as 
possible of the mixed tribes of the Ohio, distribute among them 
wampum belts sent for the purpose, and engage them to meet 
General Braddock when on the march, and render him all the 
assistance in their power. 

* Colonial Beoords, voL yL, p. 868. 


In T^ly, Groghan engaged to enlist a strong body of Indians, 
being sure of tHe influence of Scarooyadi, successor to the half- 
king, and of his adjunct, White Thunder, keeper of the speech- 
belts.* At the instance of Governor Morris, Groghan secured 
the services of another kind of force. This was a band of hunt- 
ers, resolute men, well acquainted with the country, and inured 
to hardships. They were under the command oi Gaptain Jack, 
one of the most remarkable characters of Pennsylvania; a com- 
plete hero of the wilderness. He had been for many years a cap- 
tive among the Indians; and, having learnt their ways, had 
formed this association for the protection of the settlements, 
receiving a commission of captain horn the Governor of Pennsyl- 
vania. The band had become funous for its exploits, and was a 
terror to the Indians. Gaptain Jack was at present protecting 
the settlements on the Canococheagne ; but promised to march by 
a circuitous route and join Braddook with his hunters. " They 
require no shelter for the night," writes Groghan; '' they ask no 
pay. If the whole army was composed of such men there would 
be no cause of apprehension. I shall be with them in time for 
duty." t 


The following extract of a letter, dated August, 1750, gives one of 
the stories relative to this individual : 

^'The 'Black Hunter,' the 'Black Rifle,' the 'Wild Hunter of 
Juniata,' is a white man ; his history is this: He entered the woods 
with a few enterprismg companions; built his cabin; cleared a little 
land, and amused himself with the pleasures of fishing and hunting. 
He felt happy, for then he had not a care. But on an evening, when 
he returned from a day of sport, he found his cabin burnt, his wife 

* Colonial Records, vol vL, p. 875. 

t Haiard's Register of Penn., vol iv., pi 416. 


and children murdered. From that moment he forsakes civilized 
man ; honts ont caves, in which he lives ; protects the frontier inhab- 
itants from the Indians; and seizes every opportonity of revenge 
that offers. He lives the terror of the Indians and the consolation of 
the whites. On one occasion, near Jnniata, in the middle of a dark 
night, a fiftmilj were suddenly awaked from sleep by the report of a 
gmi ; they jump from their hnts, and by the glimmering light from 
the chimney saw an Indian £ill to rise no more. The open door ex- 
posed to view the wild hnnter. ^ I have saved yonr Uvea,' he cried, 
then tamed and was bnried in the gloom of night." — Jla^ard'iJSeffiiter 
qfFenn^ voL Iv., 889. 





General Beaddook set oat from Alexandria on the 20th of 
ApriL Washington remained behind a few days to arrange his 
aflEairs, and then rejoined him at Fredericktown, in Maryland, 
where, on the 10th of May, he was proclaimed one of the gener- 
al's aides-de-camp. The troubles of J^raddock had already com- 
menced. The Virginian contractors, failed to fulfil their engage- 
ments ; of all the immense means of transportation so confidently 
promised, but fifteen waggons and a hundred draft-horses had 
arrived, and there was no prospect of more. There was equal 
disappointment in provisions, both as to quantity and quality; 
and he had to send round the country to buy cattle for the sub- 
sistence of the troops. 

Fortunately, while the general was venting his spleen in ana- 

152 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [l^fifi. 

themas against army oontractors, Benjamin Franklin arrived at 
Fredericktown. That eminent man, then abont forty-nine years of 
age, had been for many years member of the Pennsylvania Assem- 
bly, and was now postmaster-general for America. The Assembly 
understood that Braddock was incensed against them, supposing 
them adverse to the service of the war. They had procured Frank- 
lin to wait upon him, not as if sent by them, but as if he came 
in his capacity of postmaster-general, to arrange for the sure and 
speedy transmission of despatches between the commander-in- 
chief and the governors of the provinces. 

He was well received, and became a daily guest at the gener- 
al's table. In his autobiography, he gives us an instance of the 
blind confidence and fatal prejudices by which Braddock was de- 
luded throughout tiiis expedition. " In conversation with him 
one day," writes Franklin, " he was giving me some account of 
his intended progress. ' After taking Fort Duquesne,' said he, ' I 
am to proceed to Niagara ; and, having taken that, to Front^:iac, 
if the season will allow time ; and I suppose it will, for Duquesne 
can hardly detain me above three or four days : and then I can 
see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara.' 

" Having before revolved in my mind," continues Franklin, 
'^ the long line his army must make in their march by a very nar- 
row road, to be out for them through the woods and bushes, and 
also what I had heard of a former defeat of fifteen hundred 
French, who invaded the Illinois country, I had conceived some 
doubts and some fears for the event of the campaign; but I 
ventured only to say, * To be sure, sir, if you arrive well before 
Duquesne with these fiae troops, so well provided with artillery, 
the fort, though completely fortified, and assisted with a very 
strong garrison, can probably make but a short resistance. The 


only danger I apprehend* of obstruction to year march, is from 
the ambuscades of the Indians, who, by constant practice, are 
dexterous in laying and executing them ; and the slender line, 
nearly four miles long, which your army must make, may expose 
it to be attacked by surprise on its flanks, and to be cut like 
thread into several pieces, which, from their distance, cannot come 
up in time to support one another.' 

'' He smiled at my ignorance, and replied : ' These savages 
may indeed be a formidable enemy to raw American militia, but 
upon the king's regular and disciplined troops, sir, it is impossible 
tiiey should make an impression.' I was conscious of an impro- 
priety in my disputing with a military man in matters of his pro- 
fession, and said no more." * 

As the whole delay of the army was caused by the want of 
conveyances, Franklin observed one day to the general that it 
was a pity the troops had not been landed in Pennsylvania, where 
almost every farmer had his waggon. " Then, sir," replied Brad« 
dock, " you who are a man of interest there can probably pro- 
cure them for me, and I beg you will" Franklin consented. An 
instrument in writing was drawn up', empowering him to contract 
for one hundred and fifty waggons, with four horses to each waggon, 
and fifteen hundred saddle or packhorses for the service of his ma- 
jesty's forces, to be at Wills' Greek on or before the 20th of May, 
and he promptly departed for Lancaster to execute the commission. 

After his departure, Braddock, attended by his staff, and his 
guard of light horse, set off for Wills' Creek by the way of Win- 
Chester, the road along the north side of the Potomac not being 
yet made. " This gave him," writes Washington, " a good op- 

* Antobiograpby of Franklin. Sparks' Edition, p. 190l 
Vol. I.— 7* 


portonitj to see the absordity of the route, and of damning it 
very heartily." • 

Three of Washington's horses were knocked up before they 
reached Winchester, and he had to purchase others. This was a 
severe drain of his campaigning purse ; fortunately he was in the 
neighborhood of Greenway Court, and was enabled to replenish it 
by a loan &om his old Mend Lord Fairfax. 

The discomforts of the rough road were increased with tho 
general, by his travelling with some degree of state in a chariot 
which he had purchased of Governor Sharpe. In this he dashed 
by Dunbar's division of the troops, which he overtook near Wills' 
Greek; his body guard of light horse galloping on each side of 
his chariot, and his staff accompanying him ; the drums beating 
the Grenadier's march as he passed. In this style, too, he arrived 
at Fort Oumberland, amid a thundering salute of seventeen 


By this time the general discovered that he was not in a 
region fitted for such display, and his travelling chariot was 
abandoned at Fort Cumberland; otherwise it would soon have 
become a wreck among the mountains beyond. 

By the 19th of May, the forces were assembled at Fort Oum- 
berland. The two royal regiments, originally one thousand strong, 
now increased to fourteen hundred, by men chosen firom the 
Maryland and Virginia levies. Two provincial companies of 
carpenters, or pioneers, thirty men each, with subalterns and cap- 
tains. A company of guides, composed of a captain, two aids, 
and ten men. The troop of Virginia light horse, commanded by 

* Draft of a letter, among Washington's papers, addressed to Mijor John 

f Journal of the Seamen's detachment 


jch^m the Iftcp in Cm^ (Trmt't JvHfntU 

1Y55.] HUGH MEBCEB. 155 

Captain Stewart; the detachment of thirty sailors with their 
officers, and the* remnants of two independent companies from 
New York, one of which was commanded by Captain Horatio 
Gates, of whom we shall have to speak much hereafter, in the 
course of this biography. 

Another person in camp, of subsequent notorieiy, and who 
became a warm friend of Washington, was Br. Hugh Mercer, a 
Scotchman, about thirty-three years of age. About ten years 
previously he had served as assistant surgeon in the forces of 
Charles Edward, and followed his standard to the disastrous 
field of Culloden. After the defeat of the " chevalier," Mercer 
had escaped by the way of Inverness to America, and taken up 
his residence in Virginia. He was now with the Virginia troops, 
rallying under the standard of the House of Hanover, in an ex- 
pedition led by a general who had aided to drive the chevalier 
from Scotland.^ 

Another young Scotchman in the camp was Br. James Craik, 
who had become strongly attached to Washington, being about 
the same age, and having been with him in the affiiir of the Ghreat 
Meadows, serving as surgeon in the Virginia regiment, to which 
he still belonged. 

At Fort Cmnberland, Washington had an opportunity of see- 
ing a force encamped according to the plan approved of by the 
council of war; and military tactics, enforced with dl the preci- 
sion of a martinet. 

The roll of each company was caUed over morning, noon, and 
night. There was strict examination of arms and accoutrements; 

* Braddock had been an officer under the Duke of Cumberland, in hla 
oampaigpa againfit Charles Edward 

156 LirK OF WASHINGTON. [l^fift. 

the commanding officer of each company being answerable for 
their being kept in good order. 

The general was very particolar in regard to the appearuiee 
and drill of the Virginia recruits and companies, whom he had 
put under the rigorous discipline of Ensign Allen. " They per- 
formed their erolutions and firings, as well as could be expected,'' 
writes Captain Orme, ''but their languid, spiritless, and un- 
soldier-like appearance, considered with the lowness and ignorance 
of most of their officers, gave little hopes of their future good 
behayior."* He doubtless echoed the opinion of the general; 
how completely were both to be undeceived as to their estimate 
of tibese troops ! 

The general held a leyee in his tent every morning, £rom ten 
to eleven. He was strict as to the morals of the camp. Drunk- 
enness was severely punished. A soldier convicted of theft was 
sentenced to receive one thousand lashes, and to be drummed out 
of his regiment. Part of the first part of the sentence was re- 
mitted. Divine service was performed every Sunday, at the head 
of the colors of each raiment, by the chaplain. There was the 
funeral of a captain who died at this encampment. A captain's 
guard marched before the corpse, the captain of it in the rear, 
the firelocks reversed, the drums beating the dead march. When 
near the grave, the guard formed two lines, facing each other ;^ 
rested on their arms, muzzles downwards, and leaned their fistces 
on the butts. The corpse was carried between them, the sword 
and sadi on the coffin, and the officers following two and two. 
After the chaplain of the regiment had read the service, the 
guard fired three volleys over the grave, and retumedf 

• Orme's JoumaL 

f Orme's JournsL Journal of the Beamen*8 detaohmani 

l<755.] 8E0RETABY PETERS. 157 

Braddock's camp, in a word, was a complete study for Wash- 
bgton, daring the halt at Fort Oamberland, where he had an 
opportunity of seeing military routine in its strictest forms. He 
had a specimen, too, of conyivial life in the camp, which the gen- 
eral endeavored to maintain, even in the wilderness, keeping a 
hospitable table ; for he is said to have been somewhat of a hon 
vivantj and to have had with him '^ two good cooks, who could 
make an excellent ragout out of a pair of boots, had they but 
materials to toss them up with." * 

There was great detention at the fort, caused by the want of 
forage and supplies, the road not having been finished from Phila- 
delphia. Mr. Richard Peters, the secretary of Governor Morris, 
was in camp, to attend to the matter. He had to bear the brunt 
of Braddock's complaints. The general declared he would not 
stir from Wills^ Oreek until he had the governor's assurance that 
the road would be opened in time. Mr. Peters requested guards 
to protect the men while at work, from attacks by the Indians. 
Braddock swore he would not furnish guards for the woodcutters, 
— " let Pennsylvania do it I " He scoffed at the talk about danger 
from Indians. Peters endeavored to make him sensible of the 
peril which threatened him in this respect. Should an army of 
them, led by French officers, beset him in his march, he would not 
be able, with all his strength and military skill, to reach Fort 
Buquesne without a body of rangers, as well on foot as horseback. 
The general, however, "despised his observations." f Still, 
guards had ultimately to be provided, or the work on the road 
would have been abandoned. 

Braddock, in fact, was completely chagrined and disappointed 

• * Pre£EUie to Wintlipop Sargentfi Introductory Memoir, 
t Ccdonial Records, vl, 896. 


about the Indians. The Cherokees and Oatawbas, whom Din- 
widdle had given him reason to expect in sooh numbers, nerer 

Qeorge Oroghan reached the camp with but about fifty warriors, 
whom he had brought from Aughquiok. At the general's request 
he sent a messenger to invite the Delawares and Shawnees from 
the Ohio, who returned with two chiefs of the former tribe. 
Among the sachems thus assembled were some of Washington's 
former allies; Scarooyadi, alias, Monacatoocha, successor to the 
half-king; White Thunder, the keeper of the speech-belts, and 
Silver Heels, so called, probably, from being swifb of foot. 

Notwithstanding his secret contempt for the Indians, Brad- 
dock, agreeably to his instructions, treated them with great cere- 
mony. A grand council was held in his tent, where all his officers 
attended. The chiefs, and all the warriors, came painted and 
decorated for war. They were received with military honors, the 
guards resting on their fire-arms. The general made them a 
speech through his interpreter, expressing the grief of their father, 
the great king of England, at the death of the half-king, and 
made them presents to console them. They in return promised 
their aid as guides and scouts, and declared eternal enmity to the 
French, following the declaration with the war song, " making a 
terrible noise." 

The general, to regale and astonish them, ordered dl the ar- 
tillery to be fired, '^ the drums and fifes playing and beating the 
point of war ; " the fdte ended by their feasting, in their own 
camp, on a bullock which the general had given them, following 
up their repast by dancing the war dance round a ^e^ to the 
sound of their uncouth drums and rattles, '* making night 
hideous," by howls and yellings. 

1755.] " INDIAN BEAUTIES. 159 

'' I hare engaged between forty and fifty Indians from the 
frontiers of your province to go over the mountains with me," 
writes Braddook to Grovemor Morris, '' and shall take Croghan 
and Montour into service.'' Croghan was, in effect, put in com- 
mand of the Indians, and a warrant given to him of captain. 

For a tim& all went welL The Indians had their separate 
camp, where they passed half the night singing, dancing, and 
howling. The British were amnsed by their strange ceremonies, 
tbeir savage antics, and savage decorations. The Indians, on the 
other hand, loitered by day about the English camp, fiercely 
pabted and arrayed, gazing with silent admiration at the parade 
of the troops, their marchings and evolutions ; and delighted with 
the horse-races, with which the young officers recreated them- 

Unluckily the warriors had brought their families with them 
to Wills' Greek, and the women were even fonder than the men 
of loitering about the British camp. They were not destitute of 
attractions ; for the young squaws resemble the gypsies, having 
seductive forms, small hands and feet, and soft voices. Among 
those who visited the camp was one who no doubt passed for an 
Indian princess. She was the daughter of the sachem. White 
Thunder, and bore the dazzling name of Bright Lightning.* 
The charms of these wild- wood beauties were soon acknowledged. 
" The squaws," writes Secretary Peters, " bring in money plenty ; 
the officers are scandalously fond of thenou" f 

The jealousy of the warriors was aroused ; some of them be- 
came fruious. To prevent discord, the squaws were forbidden to 

* Seamen's JoiunuiL 

f Letter of Peten to GoVernor Morrii. 


come into the British camp. This did not prevent their being 
sought elsewhere. It was ultimately found necessary, for the 
sake of quiet, to send Bright Lightning, with all the other women 
and children, back to Aughquiok. White Thunder, and several 
of the warriors, accompanied them for their protection. 

As to the three Delaware chiefs, they returned to the Ohio, 
promising the general they would collect their warriors together, 
and meet him on his march. They never kept their word. 
'' These people are villains, and always side with the strongest," 
says a shrewd journalist of the expedition. 

During the halt of the troops at Wills' Greek, Washington 
had been sent to Williamsburg to bring on four thousand pounds 
for the military chest. He returned, after a fortnight's absence, 
escorted from Winchester by eight men, "which eight men," 
writes he, "were two days assembling, but I believe would not 
have been more than as many seconds dispersing if I had been 

He found the general out of all patience and temper at the 
delays and disappointments in regard to horses, waggons, and 
forage, making no allowances for the difficulties incident to a new 
country, and to the novel and great demands upon its scanty and 
scattered resources. He accused the army contractors of want 
of faith, honor, and honesty; and in his moments of passion, 
which were many, extended the stigma to the whole country. 
This stung the patriotic sensibility of Washington, and overcame 
his usual self-command, and the proud and passionate commander 
was occasionally surprised by a well-merited rebuke from his 
aide-de-camp. " We have frequent disputes on this head," writes 
Washington, " which are maintained with warmth on both sides, 
especially on his, as he is incapable of arguing without it, or of 

A.D. 1755. 


giving up any point he asserts, be it ever so incompatible with 
reason or common sense.'' 

The same pertinacity was maintained with respect to the In- 
dians. George Croghan informed Washington that the sachems 
considered themselves treated with slight, in never being con- 
sulted in war matters. That he himself had repeatedly offered 
the services of the warriors under his command as scouts and 
outgoards, but his offers had been rejected. Washington ven- 
tured to interfere, and to urge their importance for such purposes, 
especially now when they were approaching the stronghold of the 
enemy. As usual, the general remained bigoted in his belief of 
the all-su£Eiciency of well-disciplined troops. 

Either from disgust thus caused, or from being actually dis- 
missed, the warriors began to disappear £rom the camp. It is 
said that Colonel Innes, who was to remain in command at Fort 
Cumberland, advised the dismissal of all but a few to serve as 
guides ; certain it is, before Braddock recommenced his march, 
none remained to accompany him but Scarooyadi, and eight of 
his warriors.* 

Seeing the general's impatience at the non-arrival of convey- 
ances, Washington again represented to him the difficulties he 
would encounter in attempting to traverse the mountains with 
such a train of wheel-carriages, assuring him it would be the 
most arduous part of the campaign ; and recommended, from his 

• Braddock's own secretary, William Shirley, was disaffected to him. 
"Writing about him to Governor Morris, he satirically observes : " We have 
a general most jadioionsly chosen for being disqualified for the service he 
is employed in, in almost every respect" And of the secondary officers : 
" As to them, I don't think we have much to boast Some are insolent and 
ignorant ; others capable, but rather aiming at showing their own abilities 
than making a proper use of them." — Colonial Eeeordi, vi., 405. 



own ezperienoe, the substitution, as much as possible, of pack- 
horses. Braddock, however, had not been sufficiently harassed 
bj frontier campaigning to depart from his European modes, or 
to be swayed in his military operations by so green a counsellor. 

At length the general was relieved from present perplexities 
by the arrival of the horses and waggons which Franklin had un- 
dertaken to procure. That eminent man, with his characteristic 
promptness and unwearied exertions, and by his great personal 
popularity, had obtained them from the reluctant Pennsylvania 
farmers, being obliged to pledge his own responsibility for their 
being fully remunerated. He performed this laborious task out 
of pure zeal for the public service, neither expecting nor receiving 
emolument ; and, in fact, experiencing subsequently great delay 
and embarrassment before he was relieved from the pecuniary re- 
sponsibilities dius patriotically incurred. 

The arrival of the conveyances put Braddock in good humor 
with Pennsylvania. In a letter to Governor Morris, he alludes to 
the threat of Sir John St Clair to go through that province with 
a drawn sword in his hand. " He is ashamed of his having talked 
to you in the manner he did." Still the general made Franklin's 
contract for waggons the sole instance in which he had not expe- 
rienced deceit and viUany. " I hope, however, in spite of all 
this," adds he, " that we shall pass a merry Christmas together." 



Oh the 10th of Jane, Braddock set off from Fort Gmnberland 
with his aides-de-oamp, and others of his staff, and his body guard 
of light horse. Sir Peter Halket, with his brigade, had marched 
three days pretdonslj; and a detachment of six hundred men, 
under the command of Colonel Chapman, and the sapervision of 
Sir John St. Clair, had been employed upwards of ten days in 
cutting down trees, remoying rocks, and opening a road. 

The march over the mountains proyed, as Washington had 
foretold, a ''tremendous undertaking." It was with di£Giculty 
the heavily laden waggons could be dragged up the steep and 
rugged roads, newly made, or imperfectly repaired. Often they 
extended for three or four miles in a straggling and broken line^ 
with the soldiers so dispersed, in guarding them, that an attack 


on any side would Have thrown the whole in confusion. It waB 
the dreary region of the great Savage Mountain, and the " Shades 
of Death " that was again made to echo with the din of arms. 

What outraged Washington's notions of the abstemious fru- 
gality suitable to campaigning in the '* backwoods," was the great 
number of horses and waggons required by the officers for the 
transportation of their baggage, camp equipage, and a thousand 
articles of artificial necessity. Simple himself in his tastes and 
habits, and manfully indifferent to personal indulgences, he al- 
most doubted whether such sybarites in the camp could be efficient 
in the field. 

By the time the advanced corps had struggled over two 
mountains, and through the intervening forest, and reached (1 6th 
June) the Little Meadows, where Sir John St Chur had made a 
temporary camp, General Braddodk had become aware of the ilif- 
ference between campaigning in a new country, or on the old ^ ell 
beaten battle-grounds of Europe. He now, of hip own accord, 
turned to Washington for advice, though it must have been a sore 
trial to his pride to seek it of so young a man ; but he had by 
this time sufficient proof of his sagacity, and his knowledge of the 

Thus unexpectedly called on, Washington gave his counsel 
with becoming modesty, but with his accustomed clearness. 
There was just now an opportunity to strike an effective blow at 
Port Duquesne, but it might be lost by delay. The garrison, 
according to credible reports, was weak; large reinforcements 
and supplies, which were on their way, would be detained by the 
drought, which rendered the river by which they must come low 
and unnavigable. The blow must be struck before they could 
arrive. He advised the general, therefore, to divide his forces; 


leave one part to come on with the stores and baggage, and all the 
cnmbrous appurtenances of an army, and to throw himself in the ad- 
yanoe with the other part, composed of his choicest troops, light- 
ened of eveiy thing superfluons that might impede a rapid march. 

His adyice was adopted. Twelve hundred men, selected out 
ef all the companies, and famished with ten field-pieces, were to 
form the first division, their provisions, and other necessaries, to 
be carried on packhorses. The second division, with all the 
stores, monitions, and heavy baggage, was to be brought on by 
Golonel Dunbar. 

The least practicable part of the arrangement was with regard 
to the officers of the advance. Washington had urged a retrench- 
ment of their baggage and camp equipage, that as many of their 
horses as possible might be used as packhorses. Here was the 
difficulty. Brought up, many of them, in fashionable and luxu- 
rious life, or the loitering indulgence of country quarters, they 
were so encumbered with what they considered indispensable 
necessaries, that out of two hundred and twelve horses generally 
appropriated to their use, not more than a dozen could be spared 
by them for the public service. Washington, in his own case, 
acted up to the advice he had given. He retained no more cloth- 
ing and effects with him than would about half fill a portmanteau, 
and gave up his best steed as a packhorse, — ^which he never heard 
of afterwards.* 

During the halt at the Little Meadows, Captain Jack and his 
band of forest rangers, whom Croghan had engaged at Governor 
Morris's suggestion, made their appearance in the camp ; armed 
and equipped with rifle, knife, hunting-shirts, leggings and moo- 

* Letter to J. Augustine Washington. Sparks, u,, 81. 


oasins, and lookmg almost like a band of Indians as they issued 
from the woods. 

The captain asked an interview with the general, by whom, it 
would seem, he was not expected. Braddock reoeiyed him in his 
tent, in his nsnal stiff and stately manner. The '< Black Bifle " 
spoke of himself and his followers as men inured to hardships, 
and accustomed to deal with Indians, who preferred stealth and 
stratagem to open warfare. He requested his company should be 
employed as a reconnoitering party, to beat up the Indians in their 
lurking-places and ambuscades. 

Braddock, who had a soyereign contempt for the ohivalry of 
the woods, and despised their boasted strategy, replied to the hero 
of the Pennsylvania settlements in a manner to which he had not 
been accustomed. ''There was time enough," he said, ''for 
making arrangements ; and he had experienced troops, on whom 
he could completely rely for all purposes." 

Oaptain Jack withdrew, indignant at so haughty a reception^ 
and informed his leathern-clad followers of his rebuff They forth- 
with shouldered their rifles, turned their backs upon the camp, 
and, headed by'the captain, departed in Indian file through the 
woods, for the usual scenes of their exploits, where men knew 
their value, the banks of the Juniata or the Conococheague.* 

On the 19di of June Braddock's first division set out, with less 
than thirty carriages, including those that transported ammunition 
for the artillery, all strongly horsed. The Indians marched with 
the advanced party. In the course of the day, Scarooyadi and 

* On the Gonocooheagae and Joniata ia left the history of their ex- 
ploits. At one time yon may hear of the band near Fort Angosta, next ai 
Fort FranUin, then at Loudon, then at Juniata, — ^rapid were the movements 
of this hardy band. — Hazard $ Beg, Pmn,, ir., 880; also, v., 194. 

17dff.] A SCIEl^TIFIC MARCH. 167 

his son being at a small distance from the line of march, was 
surrounded and taken by some French and Indians. His son 
escaped, and brought intelligence to his warriors ; they hastened 
to rescue or revenge him, but found him tied to a tree. The 
French had been disposed to shoot him, but their savage allies 
declared they would abandon them should they do so ; having 
some tie of friendship or kindred with the chieftain, who thus 
rejoined the troops unharmed. 

Washington was disappointed in his anticipations of a rapid 
march. The general, though he had adopted his advice in the 
main, could not carry it out in detaiL His militaiy education 
•was in the way; bigoted to the regular and elaborate tactics of 
Europe, he could not stoop to the make-shift expedients of a new 
country, where every difficulty is encountered and mastered in a 
rough-and-ready style. '' I found," said Washington, '^ that in- 
stead of pushing on with vigor, without regarding a little rough 
road, they were halting to level every mole hill, and to erect 
bridges over every brook, by which means we were four days in 
getting twelve miles." 

For severaldays Washington had suffered from fever, accom- 
panied by intense headache, and his illness increased in violence 
to such a d^ee that he was unable to ride, and had to be con- 
veyed for a part of the time in a covered waggon. His illness 
continued without intermission until the 23d, " when I was re- 
lieved," says he, " by the general's absolutely ordering the phy- 
sician to give me Dr. James's powders ,' one of the most excel- 
lent medicines in the world. It gave me immediate relief, and 
removed my fever and other complaints in four days' time." 

He was still unable to bear the jolting of the waggon, but it 
needed another interposition of the kindly-intended authority of 


General Braddook, to bring him to a halt at the great crossings 
of the Youghiogeny. There the general assigned him a guard, 
provided him with necessaries, and requested him to remain, un- 
der care of his physician. Dr. Craik, until the arrival of Colonel 
Dunbar's detachment, which was two days' march in the rear ; 
giving him his word of honor that he should, at all events, be 
enabled to rejoin the main division before it reached the French 

This kind solicitude on the part of Braddock, shows the real 
estimation in which he was held by that officer. Doctor Craik 
backed the general's orders, by declaring that should Washington 
persevere in his attempts to go on in the condition he then was, 
his life would be in danger. Orme also joined his entreaties, and 
promised, if he would remain, he would keep him informed by 
letter of every occurrence of moment. 

Notwithstanding all the kind assurances of Braddock and his 
aide-de-camp Orme, it was with gloomy feelings that Washington 
saw the troops depart ; fearful he might not be able to rejoin 
them in time for the attack upon the fort, which, he assured his 
brother aide-de-camp, he would not miss for five hihdred pounds. 

Leaving Washington at the Youghiogeny, we will follow the 
march of Braddock. In the course of the first day (June 24th), 
he came to a deserted Indian camp ; judging from the number of 
wigwams, there must have been about one hundred and seventy 
warriora Some of the trees about it had been stripped, and 
paiuted with threats, and bravadoes, and scurrilous taunts writ- 
ton on them in the French language, showing that there were 
white men with the savages. 

* Letter to John Augnttine Washington. Sparks, ii., 80. 


The next morning at daybreak, three men venturing beyond 
the sentinels were shot and scalped; parties were immediately 
sent out to scour the woods, and drive in the stray horses. 

The day's march passed by the Great Meadows and Fort 
Necessity, the scene of Washington's capitulation. Several In- 
dians were seen hovering in the woods, and the li^t horse and 
Indian allies were sent out to surround thenij but did not suc- 
ceed. In crossing a mountain beyond the Great Meadows, the 
carriages had to be lowered with the assistance of the sailors, by 
means of tackle. The camp for the night was about two miles 
beyond Fort Necessity. Several French and Indians endeavored 
to reconnoitre it, but were fired upon by the advanced sentinels. 

The following day (26th) there was a laborious march of but 
four miles, owing to the difficulties of the road. The evening 
halt was at another deserted Indian camp, strongly posted on a 
high rock, with a steep and narrow ascent ; it had a spring in 
the middle, and stood at the termination of the Indian path to 
the MoiA)ngahela. By this pass ike party had come which at- 
tacked Washington the year before, in the Great Meadows. The 
Indians and French too, who were hovering about the army, had 
just loft this camp. The fires they had left were yet burning. 
The French had inscribed their names on some of the trees with 
insulting bravadoes, and the Indians had designated in triumph 
the scalps they had taken two days previously. A party was sent 
out with guides, to follow their tracks and fall on them in the 
night, but again without success. In fact, it was the Indian 
boast, that throughout this march of Braddock, they saw him 
every day from the mountains, and expected to be able to shoot 
down his soldiers '^ like pigeons." 

The march continued to be toilful and difficult ; on one day 
ToL. I.— 8 


it did not exoeed two miles, having to cat a passage oyer a moan- 
tain. In cleaning their gans the men were ordered to draw the 
charge, instead of firing it off. No fire was to be lighted in front 
of the pickets. At night the men were to take their arms into 
the tents with them. 

Farther on the precautions became still greater. On the ad- 
yanoed pickets the men were in two divisions, relieving each 
other every two hours. Half remained on guard with fixed 
bayonets, the other half lay down by their arms. The picket 
sentinels were doubled. 

On the 4th of July they encamped at Thicketty Run. The 
country was less mountainous and rocky, and the woods, consist- 
ing chiefly of white pine, were more open. The general now sup- 
posed himself to be within thirty miles of Fort Duquesne. Ever 
sinoe his halt at the deserted camp on the rock beyond the Great 
Meadows, he had endeavored to prevail upon the Croghan In- 
dians to scout in the direction of the fort, and bring him intelli- 
gence, but never could succeed. They had probably beenrdeterred 
by the number of French and Indian tracks, and by the recent 
capture of Scarooyadl This day, however, two consented to 
reconnoitre ; and shortly after their departure, Christopher Oist, 
the resolute pioneer, who acted as guide to the general, likewise 
set off as a scout. 

The Indians returned on the 6th. They had been close to 
Fort Duquesne. There were no additional works there; they 
saw a few boats under the fort, and one with a white flag coming 
down the Ohio ; but there were few men to be seen, and few 
tracks of any. They came upon an unfortunate officer, shooting 
within half a mile of the fort, and brought a scalp as a 
trophy of his fate. None of the passes between the camp and 


fort were occupied ; they believed there were few men abroad re- 

Oist returned soon after them. His account corroborated 
theirs ; but he had seen a smoke in a yallej between the camp 
and the fort, made probably by some scouting party. He had 
intended to prowl about the fort at night, but had been discovered 
and pursued by two Indians, and narrowly escaped with his life. 

On the same day, during the march, three or four men loi- 
tering in the rear of the grenadiers were killed and scalped. 
Several of the grenadiers set off to take revenge. They came 
upon a party of Indians, who held up boughs and grounded their 
arms, the concerted sign of amity. Not perceiving or under- 
standing it, the grenadiers fired upon them, and one fell It 
proved to be the son of ScarooyadL Aware too late of their 
error, the grenadiers brought the body to the camp. The con- 
duct of Braddock was admirable on the occasion. He sent for 
the father and the other Indians, and condoled with them on the 
lamentable occurrence ; making them the customary presents of 
expiation. But what was more to the point, he caused the youth 
to be buried with the honors of war ; at his request the officers 
attended the funeral, and a volley was fired over the grave. 

These soldierlike tributes of respect to the deceased, and sympa- 
thy with the efturvivors, soothed the feelings and gratified the 
pride of the father, and attached him more firmly to ihe service. 
We are glad to record an anecdote so contrary to the general con- 
tempt for the Indians with which Braddock stands charged. It 
speaks well for the real kindness of his heart. 

We will return now to Washington in his sick encampment 
on the banks of the Youghiogeny where he was left repining at 
the departure of the troops without him. To add to his annoy- 

172 LIFB OP WASHINGTON. [l^ftjj. 

anoes, his serrant, John Alton, a faithful Welshman, was taken 
ill with the same malady, and unable to render him any secyices. 
Letters from his fellow aides-de-camp showed him the kind solici- 
tude that was felt concerning him. At the general's desire, Cap- 
tain Morris wrote to him, informing him of their intended halts. 

'' It is the desire of every individual in the family," adds he, 
** and the general's positive commands to you, not to stir, but by 
the advice of the person [Dr. Craik] under whose care you are, 
till you are better, which we all hope will be very soon." 

Orme, too, according to promise, kept him informed of the 
incidents of the march ; the frequent night alarms, and occasiomd 
scalping parties. The night alarms Washington considered mere 
femts, designed to harass the men and retard the march; the 
enemy, he was sure, had not sufficient force for a serious attach; 
and he was glad to learn from Orme that the men were in high 
spirits and confident of success. 

He now considered himself sufficiently recovered to rejoin th« 
troops, and his only anxiety was that he should not be able to do 
it in time for the great blow. He was rejoiced, therefore, on the 
3d of July, by the arrival of an advanced party of one hundred 
men convoying provisions. Being still too weak to mount his 
horse, he set off with the escort in a covered waggon ; and after 
a most fatiguing journey, over mountain and 'through forest, 
reached Braddock's camp on the 8th of July. It was on tiie 
east side of the Monongahela, about two miles from the riveri 
in the neighborhood of the town of Queen Aliquippa, and about 
fifteen miles from Fort Duquesne. 

In consequence of adhering to technical rules and military 
forms, General Braddock had consumed a month in marching 
little more than a hundred miles. The tardiness of his progress 


was regarded with sorpriBo and impatienoe even in Enrope ; where 
his pataron, the Duke of Brunswiok, was watching the events of 
the campaign he had planned. *^ The Duke," writes Horace Wal« 
pole, '* is much dissatisfied at the slowness of (General Braddock, 
toko does not march as if h$ was at all impatient to he 
scalped,^^ The insinuation of the satirical wit was unmerited. 
Braddock was a stranger to fear ; but in his movements he was 
fettered by system. 

Washington was warmly received on his arrival, especially by 
his fellow aides-de-camp, Morris and Orme. He was just in time, 
for the attack upon Fort Duquesne was to be made on the follow- 
ii^ day. The neighboring country had been reconnoitered to 
determine upon a plan of attack The fort stood on the same 
side of the Monongahela with the camp ; but there was a narrow 
pass between them of about two miles, with the river on the left 
and a very high mountain on the right, and in its present state 
quite impassable for carriages. The route determined on was to 
cross the Monongahela by a ford immediately opposite to the 
camp ; proceed along the west bank of the river, for about five 
miles, then recross by another ford to the eastern side, and 
push on to the fort The river at these fords was shallow, and 
the banks were not steep. 

According to the plan of arrangement, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Ghige, with the advance, was to cross the river before daybreak| 
march to the second ford, and recrossing there, take post to 
secure the passage of the main force. The advance was to be 
composed of two companies of grenadiers, one hundred and sixty 
infantry, the independent company of Captain Horatio Gates, and 
two six pounders. 

Washington, who had already seen enough of r^;ular troops 


to doubt their infallibilitj in wild bush-fighting, and who knew 
the dangerous nature of the ground they were to traverse, ven- 
tured to suggest, that on the following day the Yirginia rangers, 
being accustomed to the country and to Indian warfare, might be 
thrown in the advance. The proposition drew an angry reply 
from the general, indignant, very probably, that a young provin- 
cial officer should presume to school a veteran like himself. 

Early next morning (July 9th), before daylight. Colonel Oage 
crossed with the advance. He was followed, at some distance, by 
Sir John St. Clair, quartermaster-general, with a working party 
of two hundred and fifty men, to make roads for the artillery and 
baggage. They had with them their waggons of tools, and two 
six pounders. A party of about thirty savages rushed out of the 
woods as Colonel Ghige advanced, but were put to flight before 
they had done any harm. 

By sunrise the main body turned out in full uniform. At the 
beating of the general, their arms, which had been cleaned the 
night before, were charged with fresh cartridges. The officers 
were perfectly equipped. All looked as if arrayed for a fdte, 
rather than a battle. Washington, who was still weak and un- 
well, mounted his horse, and joined the staff of the general, who 
was scrutinizing every thing with the eye of a martinet. As it 
was supposed the enemy would be on the watch for the crossing 
of the troops, it had been agreed that they should do it in the 
greatest order, with bayonets fixed, colors flying, and drums and 
fifes beating and playing.* They accordingly made a gallant ap- 
pearance as they forded the Monongahela, and wound along its 
banks, and through the open forests, gleaming and glittering in 

* Orme'sJoumaL 


morning sunshine, and stepping buoyantly to the Grenadier's 

Washington, with his keen and youthful relish for military 
affairs, was delighted with their perfect order and equipment, so 
different from the rough bush-fighters, to which ho had been accus- 
tomed. Roused to new life, he forgot his recent ailments, and 
broke forth in expressions of enjoyment and admiration, as he 
rode in company with his fellow aides-de-camp, Orme and Morris. 
Often, in after life, he used to speak of the effect upon him of 
the first sight of a well-disciplined European army, marching in 
high confidence and bright array, on the eve of a battle. 

About noon they reached the second ford. Gage, with the ad- 
vance, was on the opposite side of the Monongahela, posted ac- 
cording to orders ; but the river bank had not been sufficiently 
sloped. The artillery and baggage drew up along the beach and 
halted until one, when the second crossing took place, drums 
beating, fifes playing, and colors flying, as before. When all 
had passed, there was again a halt close by a small stream called 
Frazier's Run, until the general arranged the order of march. 

First went the advance, under Gage, preceded by the engineers 
and guides, and six light horsemen. 

Then, Sir John St. Clair and the working party, with their 
waggons and the two six pounders. On each side were thrown 
out four flanking parties. 

Then, at some distance, the general was to follow with the 
main body, the artillery and baggage preceded and flanked by 
light horse and squads of infantry; while the Virginian, and 
other provincial troops, were to form the rear guard. 

The ground before them was level until about half a mile 


from the riyer, where a rising grouDd, covered with long grass, 
low bushes, and scattered trees, sloped gently up to a range of hills. 
The whole cK)untr j, generally speaking, was a forest, with no clear 
opening but the road, which waa about twelve feet wide, and 
flanked by two ravines, concealed by trees and thickets. 

Had Braddock been schooled in the warfare of the woods, or 
had he adopted the suggestions of Washington, which he rejected 
so impatiently, he would have thrown out Indian scouts or Vir- 
ginia rangers in the advance, and on the flanks, to beat up the 
woods and ravines ; but, as has been sarcastically observed, he 
suffered his troops to march forward through the centre of the 
plain, with merely their usual guides and flanking parties, " as if 
in a review in St James' Park." 

It was now near two o'clock. The advanced party and the 
working party had crossed the plain and were ascending the ris* 
ing ground. Braddock was about to follow with the main body 
and had given the word to march, when he heard an excessively 
quick and heavy firing in front. Washington, who was with the 
general, surmised that the evil he had apprehended had come to 
pass. For want of scouting parties ahead the advance parties 
were suddenly and warmly attacked. Braddock ordered Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Burton to hasten to their assistance with the van- 
guard of the main body, eight hundred strong. The residue, four 
hundred, were halted, and posted to protect the artillery and bag- 

The firing continued, with fearful yelling. There was a terri- 
ble uproar. By the general's orders an aide-de-camp spurred 
forward to bring him an account of the nature of the attack. 
Without waiting for his return the general himself, finding the 

1755.] BU8H-FIGHTIN0. 177 

tonnoil increase, moved forward, leaving Sir Peter Halket with 
the conunand of the baggage.* 

The van of the advance had indeed been taken by surprise. 
It was composed of two companies of carpenters or pioneers to 
cat the road, and two flank companies of grenadiers to protect 
tiiem. Suddenly the engineer who preceded Uiem to mark out 
the road gave the alarm, '^ French and Indians !" A body of them 
was approaching rapidly, cheered on by a Frenchman in gaily 
fringed hunting-shirt, whose gorget showed him to be an officer. 
There was sharp firing on both sides at first. Several of the 
enemy fell ; among them their leader ; but a murderous fire broke 
out from among trees and a ravine on the right, and the woods 
resounded with unearthly whoops and yellings. The Indian rifle 
was at work, levelled by unseen hands. Most of the grenadiers 
and many of the pioneers were shot down. The survivors were 
driven in on the advance. 

(}age ordered his men to fix bayonets and form in order of 
battle. They did so in hurry and trepidation. He would have 
scaled a hiU on the right whence there was the severest firing. 
Not a platoon would quit the line of march. They were more 
dismayed by the yells than by the rifles of the unseen savages. 
The latter extended themselves along the hill and in the 
ravines; but their whereabouts was only known by their de- 
moniac cries and the puffs of smoke from their rifles. The 
soldiers fired wherever they saw the smoke. Their officers tried 
in vain to restrain them until they should see their foe. All 
orders were unheeded ; in their fright they shot at random, kill- 
ing some of their own fianking parties, and of the vanguard, as 
they came running in. The covert fire grew more intense. In a 

♦ Orme*8 Journal. 
Vol. L— 8* 


short time most of the officers and many of the men of the ad« 
yance were killed or wounded. Colonel Gkge himself received a 
wound. The adyanoe fell ba<^ in dismay upon Sir John St. 
Clair's corps, which waa equally dismayed. The cannon belonging 
to it were deserted. 

Colonel Burton had come up with the reinforcement, and was 
forming his men to face the rising ground on the right, when 
both of the advanced detachments fell back upon him, and all now 
was confusion. 

By this time the general was upon the ground. He tried to 
rally the men. " They would fight," they said, " if they could 
see their enemy; but it was useless to fire at trees and bushes, 
and they could not stand to be shot down by an invisible foe." 

The colors were advanced in different places to separate the 
men of the two regiments. The general ordered the officers to 
form the men, tell them off into small divisions, and advance with 
them; but the soldiers could not be prevailed upon eitlier by 
threats or entreaties. The Virginia troops, accustomed to the 
Indian mode of fighting, scattered themselves, and took post be- 
hind trees, where they could pick off the lurking foe. In this 
way they, in some degree, protected the regulars. Washington 
advised General Braddock to adopt the same plan with the regu- 
lars; but he persisted in forming Uiem into platoons; ccmse- 
quently they were cut down from behind logs and trees as fast as 
they could advance. Several attempted to take to the trees, 
without orders, but the general stormed at them, called them cow- 
ards, and even struck them with the flat of his sword. Several 
of the Virginians, who had taken post and were doing good ser- 
vice in this manner, were slain by the fire of the regulars, directed 
wherever a smoke appeared among the trees. 


The officers behayed with oonsammate bravery ; and Wasfi* 
ington beheld with admiration those who, in camp or on the 
march, had appeared to him to hare an ahnost effeminate regard 
for personal ease and conyenience, now exposing themselves to 
imminent death, with a ooorage Uiat kindled with the thick- 
ening horrors. In the vain hope of inspiriting the men to drive 
off the enemy from the flanks and regain the cannon, they would 
dash forward singly or in groups. They were invariably shot 
down ; for the Indians aimed from their coverts at every one on 
horseback, or who appeared to have command. 

Some were killed by random shot of their own men, who, 
crowded in masses, fired with a£frigfated rapidity, but wi^out aim. 
Soldiers in the front ranks were killed by those in the rear. Be- 
tween friend and foe, the slaughter of the officers was terrible. 
All this while the woods resounded with the unearthly yellings of 
the savages, and now and then one of them, hideously painted, and 
ruflling with feathered crest, would rush forth to scalp an officer 
who had fallen, or seize a horse galloping wildly without a rider. 

Throughout this disastrous day, Washington distinguished 
himself by his courage and presence of mind. His brother aids, 
Orme and Morris, were wounded and disabled early in the action, 
and the whole duty of carrying the orders of the general de- 
volved on him. His danger was imminent and incessant. He 
was in every part of the field, a conspicuous mark for the murder- 
ous rifle. Two horses were shot under him. Four bullets passed 
through his coat. His escape without a wound was almost mira- 
culous. Dr. Craik, who was on the field attending to the wound- 
ed, watched him with anxiety as he rode about in the most 
exposed manner, and used to say that he expected every moment 
to see him fidl. At one time he was sent to the main body to 



bring the artillery into action. All there was likeiriBO in oonfii- 
Bion ; for the Indians had extended themselves along the ravine 
BO as to flank the reserve and carry slaughter into the ranks. 8ir 
Peter Halket had been shot down at the head of his regiment 
The men who should have served the guns were paralyzed. Had 
they raked the ravines with grapeshot the day might have been 
saved. In his ardor Washington sprang from his horse ; wheeled 
and pointed a brass field-piece with his own hand, and directed an 
effective discharge into the woods; but neither his efforts nor 
example were of avail. The men could not bo kept to the guns. 

Braddock still remained in the centre of the field, in the des- 
perate hope of retrieving the fortunes of the day. The Virginia 
rangers, who had been most efficient in covering his position, 
were nearly all killed or wounded. His secretaiy, Shirley, had 
fallen by his side. Many of his officers had been slain within his 
sight, and many of his guard of Virginia light horse. Five 
horses had been killed under him ; still he kept his ground, vainly 
endeavoring to check the flight of his men, or at least to effect 
their retreat in good order. At length a bullet passed through 
his right arm, and lodged itself in his lungs. He fell from his 
horse, but was caught by Captain Stewart of the Virginia guards, 
who, with the assistance of anoUier American, and a servant, 
placed him in a tumbril It was with muoh difficulty they got 
him out of the field — ^in his despair he desired to be left there.* 

The rout now became complete. Baggage, stores, artillery, 
every thing was abandoned. The waggoners took each a horse 
out of his team, and fled. The officers were swept off with the 
men in this headlong flight. It was rendered more precipitate 

* Journal of the Seamen's detachmenC. 



by the shouts and yells of the sayages, numbers of whom rushed 
forth from their ooyerts, and pursued the fugitives to the river 
side, killing several as they dashed across in tumultuous confu- 
sion. Fortunately for the latter, the victors gave up the pursuit 
in their eagerness to collect the spoil 

The shattered army continued its flight after it had crossed 
iiie Monongahela, a wretched wreck of the brilliant little force 
that had recently gleamed along its banks, confident of victory. 
Out of eighty-six officers, twenty-six had been killed, and thirty- 
siz wounded. The number of rank and file killed and wounded 
was upwards of seven hundred. The Yirginia corps had suffered 
the most ; one company had been almost annihilated, another, 
beside those killed and woimded in the ranks, had lost all its 
officers, even to Uie corporal 

About a hundred men were brought to a halt about a quarter 
of a mile from the ford of the river. Here was Braddook, with 
his wounded aides-de-camp and some of his officers ; Pr. Craik 
dressing his wounds, and Washington attending him with faithful 
assiduity. Braddock was still able to give orders, and had a 
faint hope of being able to keep possession of the ground until re- 
inforced. Most of the men were stationed in a very advantageous 
spot about two hundred yards from the road ; and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Burton posted out small parties and sentinels. Before an 
hour had elapsed most of the men had stolen ofiEl Being thus 
deserted, Braddock and his officers continued their retreat ; he 
would have mounted his horse but was unable, and had to be car- 
ried by soldiers. Orme and Morris were placed on litters borne 
by horses. They were subsequently joined by Colonel Oage with 
eighty men whom he had rallied. 

Washington, in the mean time, notwithstanding his weak 


Btate, being fouDd most efficient in frontier serrice, was sent to 
Colonel Dunbar^s camp, forty miles distant, with orders for him 
to hurry forward proyisions, hospital stores, and waggons for the 
wonnded, under the escort of two grenadier companies. It was a 
hard and a melancholy ride throughout the night and the following 
day. The tidings of the defeat preceded him, borne by the wag- 
goners, who had mounted their horses, on Braddock's fall, and fled 
from the field of battle. They had arriyed, haggard, at Dunbar's 
camp at mid-day ; the Indian yells still ringing in Uieir ears. 
<< All was lost ! " they cried. « Braddock was killed 1 They had 
seen wounded officers borne off from the field in bloody sheets t 
The troops were all cut to pieces I " A panic fell upon the camp. 
The drums beat to arms. Many of Uie soldiers, waggoners and 
attendants, took to flight ; but most of them were forced back by 
the sentmels. 

Washington arriyed at the camp in the eyening, and found 
the agitation still preyailing. The orders which he brought were 
executed during the night, and he was in the saddle early in the 
morning accompanying the oonyoy of supplies. At Gist's planta- 
tion, about thirteen miles off, he met Gtige and his scanty force 
escorting Braddock and his wounded officers. Captain Stewart 
and a sad remnant of the Virginia light horse still accompanied 
the general as his guard. The captain had been unremitting 
in his attentions to him during the retreat There was a halt 
of one day at Dunbar's camp for the repose and relief of the 
wounded. On the 13th they resumed their melancholy march, 
and that night reached the Great Meadows. 

The proud spirit of Braddock was broken by his defeat. He 
remained silent the first eyening after the battle, only ejaculating 
at night, " who would haye thought it I " He was equally silent 

1766.] DEATH OF BRADDOGK. 183 

the fbUowiDg day ; yet hope still seemed to liDger in his breast, 
from aDotilier ejaculation: ''We shall better know how to deal 
with them another time ! " * 

He was gratefnl for the attentions paid to him by Captain 
Stewart and Washington, and more than once, it is said, expressed 
his admiration of the gallantry displayed by the Yirgmians in 
the action. It is said, moreover, that in his last moments, he 
apologiaed to Washington for the petulance with which he had 
rejected his adyioe, and bequeathed to hioi his fayorite charger 
and his faithful fieryant, Bishop, who had helped to convey him 
from the field. 

Some of these facts, it is true, rest on tradition, yet we are will- 
ing to believe them, as they impart a gleam of just and generoub' 
feeling to his closing scene. He died on the night of the 13th, 
at the Great Meadows, the place of Washington's discomfiture in 
the previous year. His obsequies were performed before break 
of day. The chaplain having been wounded, Washington read 
the funeral service. All was done in sadness, and without parade, 
so as not to atti*act the attention of lurking savages, who might 
discover, and outrage his grave. It is doubtful even whether a 
volley was fired over it, that last military honor which he had 
recently paid to the remains of an Indian warrior. The place of 
his sepulture, however, is still known, and pointed out. 

Reproach spared him not, even when in his grave. The fail- 
ure of the expedition was attributed both in England and Amer- 

• Captam Orme, who gave these particulftrt to Dr. FrankUn, says that 
Braddock " died a few minutes after." This, according to his account, was 
on the second day ; whereas the general survived upwards of four day^ 
Orme, being eonveyed on a Utter at some distance from the general, oould 
only speak of his moods firom hearsay. 


ioa to his obstinacy, his teolmical pedantry, and his military oon- 
oeit He had been oontinnally warned to be on his guard against 
ambosh and surprise, but without ayaiL Had ho taken the 
advioe urged on him by Washington and others to employ scout- 
ing parties of Indians and rangers, he would never have been so 
signally surprised and defeated. 

Still his dauntless conduct on the field of battle shows him to 
have been a man of fearless spirit ; and he was universally al- 
lowed to be an accomplished disciplinarian. His melancholy end, 
too, disarms censure of its asperity. Whatever may have been 
his faults and errors, he, in a manner, expiated them by the 
hardest lot that can befall a brave soldier, ambitious of renown — 
an unhonored grave in a strange land ; a memory clouded by mis- 
fortune, and a name for ever coupled with defeat. 


In narrating the expedition of Braddock, we have firequently cited 
the Journals of Captain Orme and of the ^* Seamen^s Detachment ; ^' 
they were procured in England by tibe Hon. Joseph B. IngersoU, 
while Minister at the Oourt of St. James, and recently pubUshed by 
the Historical Sodety of Pennsylvania: ably edited, and illustrated 
with an admirable Introductory Memoir by Winthrop Sargent, Esq., 
member of that Society. 



Thb obsequies of the unfortunate Braddock being finished, the 
escort continued its retreat with the sick and wounded. Wash- 
ington, assisted by Dr. Oraik, watched with assiduity oyer his 
comrades, Orme and Morris. As the horses which bore their 
litters were nearly knocked up, he despatched messengers to the 
oommander of Fort Cumberland requesting that others might be 
sent on, and that comfortable quarters might be prepared for the 
reception of those officers. 

On the 17th, the sad cavalcade reached the fort, and were re- 
lieyed from the incessant apprehension of pursuit Here, too, 
ftymg reports had preceded them, brought by fugitives from the 
battle ; who, with the disposition usual in such cases to exagger- 
ate, had represented the whole army as massacred. Fearing 
these reports might reach home, and affect his family. Washing- 
top wrote to his mother, and his brother, John Augustine, appris- 
ing them of his safety. *' The Virginia troops," says he, in a 
letter to his mother, << showed a good deal of bravery, and were 

186 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [17(^6. 

nearly all killed. • • • The dastardly behavior of those 
they called regulars exposed all others, that were ordered to do 
their daty, to almost certain death ; and, at last, in despite of all 
the efforts of the officers to the contrary, they ran, as sheep pur- 
sued by dogs, and it was impossible to rally them." 

To his brother, he writes : " As I have heard, since my arrival 
at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying 
speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, 
and of assuring you that I have not composed the latter. But, 
by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been pro- 
tected beyond all human probability, or expectation ; for I had 
four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet 
escaped unhurt, though death was levelling my companions on 
every side of me ! 

'^ We have been most scandalously beaten by a trifling body 
of men, but fatigue and want of time prevent me from giving 
you any of the details, until I have the happiness of seeing 
you at Mount Vernon, which I now most earnestly wish for, 
since we are driven in thus far. A feeble state' of health obliges 
me to halt here for two or three days to recover a little strength, 
that I may thereby be enabled to proceed homeward with more 

Dunbar arrived shortly afterward with the remainder of the 
army. No one seems to have shared more largely in the panio 
of the vulgar than that officer. From the moment he received 
tidings of the defeat, his camp became a scene of confusion. All 
the ammunition, stores, and artillery were destroyed, to prevent, 
it was said, their falling into the hands of the enemy ; but, as it 
was afterwards alleged, to relieve the terror-strioken commander 


from aU moumbranoes, and famish him with more horses in his 
flight toward the settlements.* 

At Cumberland his forces amonnted to fifteen hundred effec- 
tiye men ; enough for a braye stand to protect the frontier, and 
recover some of the lost honor ; but he merely paused to leave the 
sick and wounded under care of two Virginia and Maryland com- 
panies, and some of the train, and then continued his hasty 
march, or rather flight, through the country, not thinking himself 
safe, as was sneeringly intimated, until he arrived in Philadel- 
phia, where the inhabitants could protect him. 

Among the wounded survivors of the defeat, who found their 
way to Fort Cumberland, was Washington's friend and neighbor. 
Dr. Hugh Mercer. He had received a severe wound in the 
shoulder, and being unable to keep up with the fugitives, con- 
cealed himself behind a fieillen tree. Thence he was a sad witness 
of a demoniac scene, which followed the defeat The field was 
strewed with the dead and dying, and among them several gallant 
offic^^. White man and red man vied with each other in strip- 
ping and plundering them ; those who were still alive were des- 
patched by the merciless tomahawk, and all were scalped. 
When the plunder and massacre were finished, the victors set out 
for the fort, laden with booty, the savages bearing aloft the scalps 
as trophies, and making the forest ring with their yells of tri- 
umph. Mercer then set out on a lonely struggle through the 
wilderness, guiding himself by the stars and the course of the 
streams, and arrived at Fort Cumberland, almost exhausted by 
sidmess, f&mine, and fiatigue. We shall have to speak hereafter 
of his services when under the standard of Washington, and his 
heroic d^th on a more successful field of action. 

* Franklin's Autobiography. 


Tlie trae reason why the enemy did not pursue the retreating 
army was not known until some time afterwards, and added to the 
disgrace of the defeat. They were not the main force of the 
French, but a mere detachment of 72 regulars, 146 Canadians, 
and 637 Indians, 855 in all, led by Oaptain de Beaujeu. De 
Contrecoeur, the commander of Fort Duquesne, had receired in- 
formation, through his scouts, that the English, three thousand 
strong, were within six leagues of his fort. Despairing of mak- 
ing an effectual defence against such a superior force, he 
was balancing in his mind whether to abandon his fort without 
awaiting their arrival, or to capitulate on honorable term& In 
this dilemma Beaujeu prevailed on him to let l^im sally forth with 
a detachment to form an ambush, and give check to the enemy. 
De Beaujeu was to have taken post at the river, and disputed the 
passage at the ford. For that purpose he was hurrying forward 
when discovered by the pioneers of Gage's advance party. He 
was a gallant officer, and fell at the beginning of the fight. The 
whole number of killed and wounded of French and Indians, did 
not exceed seventy. 

Such was the scanty force which the imagination of the 
panic-stricken army had magnified into a great host, and from 
which they had fled in breathless terror, abandoning the whole 
frontier. No one could be more surprised than the French com- 
mander himself, when the ambuscading party returned in triumph 
n^th a long train of packhorses laden with booty, the savages un- 
couthly clad in the garments of the slain, grenadier caps, officers', 
gold-laced coats, and glittering epaulettes ; flourishing swords and 
sabres, or firing off muskets, and uttering fiendlike yells of vic- 
tory. But when De Contrecoeur was informed of the utter rout 
and destruction of the much dreaded British army, his joy was 


complete. He ordered the ^ons of the fort to be fired in tri- 
umph, and sent out troops in pursuit of the fogitiyes. 

The affikir of Braddock remains a memorable event in Ameri- 
can history, and has been characterized as *' the most extraordi- 
nary victory ever obtained, and the farthest flight ever made." 
It struck a fatal blow to the deference for British prowess, 
which once amounted almost to bigotry, throughout the prov- 
inces. <' This whole transaction^" observes Franklin, in his au- 
tobiography, *' gave us the first sucqpicion that our exalted ideas 
of the prowess of British regular troops had not been well 



ponrr — ^affair at lake oeoroe — ^death of dddskau. 

WASHiKaTOK arriyed at Mount Vernon on the 26th of July, still 
in feeble condition from his long illness. His campaigning, thus 
far, had trenched upon his private fortune, and impaired one of 
the best of constitutions. 

In a letter to his brother Augustine, then a member of 
Assembly at Williamsburg, he casts up the result of his frontier 
experience. '' I was employed," writes he, " to go a journey in 
the winter, when I believe few or none would have undertaken it, 
and what did I get by it ? — ^my expenses borne ! I was then ap- 
pointed, with trifling pay, to conduct a handful of men to the 
Ohio. What did I get by that ? Why, after putting myself to 
a considerable expense in equipping and providing necessaries for 
the campaign, I went but, was soundly beaten, and lost all 1 
Game in, and had my commission taken from me ; or, in other 
words, my command reduced, under pretence of an order from 
home (England). I then went out a volunteer with General 


BraddoGk, and lost all mj horses, and many other things. Bat 
this being a yoluntar j act, I ought not to have mentioned it ; nor 
should I have done it, were it not to show that I have been on 
the losing order ever since I entered the seryiee, which is now 
nearly two years." 

What a striking lesson is famished by this brief sonunary I 
How little was he aware of the vast advantages he was aoqoiring 
in this school of bitter experience I *' In the hand of heaven he 
stood," to be shaped and trained for its great purpose; and 
every trial and vicissitude of his early life, but fitted him to cope 
with one or other of the varied and multifarious duties of his 
future destiny. 

But though, under the saddening influence of debility and 
defeat, he might count the cost of his campaigning, the martial 
spirit still burned within him. His connection with the army, it 
is true, had ceased at the deatii of Braddock, but his military 
duties continued as adjutant-general of the northern division of 
the province, and he immediately issued orders for the county 
lieutenants to hold the militia in readiness for parade and exercise, 
foreseeing that, in the present defenceless state of the frontier, 
there would be need of their services. 

Tidings of the rout and retreat of the army had circulated 
far and near, and spread consternation throughout the country. 
Inmxediate incursions both of French and Indians were appre- 
hended ; and volunteer companies began to form, for the purpose 
of marching across the mountains to the scene of danger. It 
was intimated to Washington that his services would again be 
wanted on the frontier. He declared instantly that he was ready 
to serve his country to the extent of his powers ; but never (Hi 
the same terms as heretofore. 


On the 4th of August, Governor Dinwiddle oonyened the As- 
sembly to deyise measures for the pnblio safety. The sense of 
danger had qniokened the slow patriotism of the burgesses ; they 
no longer held back supplies; forty thousand pounds were 
promptly voted, and orders issued for the raising of a regiment 
of one thousand men. 

Washington's friends urged him to present himself at Wil- 
liamsburg as a candidate for the command ; they were confident 
of his success, notwithstanding that strong interest was making 
for the governor's favorite. Colonel Inne& 

With mingled modesty and pride, Washington declined io be 
a solicitor. The only terms, he said, on which he would accept a 
command, were a certainty as to rank and emoluments, a right to 
appoint his field cheers, and the supply of a sufGlcient military 
chest ; but to solicit the command, and, at the same time, to make 
stipulations, would be a little inocmgruous, and carry widi it the 
face of self-sufficiency. << If," added he, '< the command should 
be offered to me, the case will then be altered, as I should be at 
liberty to make swdi objections as reason, and my small experience, 
have p<Hnted out" 

While thb was in agitation, he received letters from his 
mother, again imploring him not to risk himself in these frontier 
wars. His answer was characteristic, blending the filial deference 
with which he was accustomed from childhood to treat her, with 
a calm patriotism of the Boman stamp. 

'^ Honored Madam : If it is in my power to avoid going to 
the Ohio again, I shall ; but if the command is pressed upon me 
by the general voice of the country, and offered upon such terms 
as cannot be objected against, it would reflect dishonor on me to 
refuse it ; and that, I am sure, must, and ought, to give you greater 


tmeasiness, than my going in on honorable ooBunancL Upon no 
other terms will I accept it. At present I hava no prc^osals 
made to me, nor have I any advice of sooh an intentioii| except 
from private hands." 

On the very day that this letter was de^Milohed (An^ 14), 
he received intelligence of his appointment to the command on 
the terms specified in his letters to his friends. His otHuaissioA 
nominated him commander-in-chief of all the forces raised, or to 
be raised in the colony. The Assembly also voted three hondrod 
pounds to him, and proportionate sums to the other offioers, and 
to the privates of the Virginia companies, in consideratiim of 
their gallant conduct, and their losses in the late batde. 

The officers next in command under him were laeatenant* 
Oolonel Adam Stephens, and Major Andrew Lewi& The fcMrmer, 
it will be recollected, had been with him in the unfortunate a&ir 
at the Oreat Meadows ; his advance in rank shows tiiat his con- 
duct had been meritorious. 

The appointment of Washington to his present statiim was 
the more gratifybg and honorable from being a popular one, made 
in deference to public sentiment ; to whidi Gbvemor Dinwiddle 
was obliged to sacrifice his strong inclination in &vor of Colonel 
Innes. It is thought that the governor never afterwards regarded 
Washington with a friendly eye. His conduct towards him sub- 
sequently was on various occasions cold and ungracious.* 

It is worthy of note that the early popularity of Washington 
was not the result of brilliant achievements nor signal success ; on 
the contrary, it rose among trials and reverses, and may almost 
be said to have been the fruit of defeats. It remains an honora- 

* Sparkt* Writings of Washington, vol u,, p^ 161, note. 
Vol. L— 9 

194 LirS OF WASHINGTON. [1766. 

ble testimony of Virginian intelligence, that the sterling, ondnr* 
ing, bat nndazzling qualities of Washington were thus early 
didoemed and appreciated, though only heralded by misfortunea 
The admirable manner in which he had conducted himself under 
these misfortunes, and the sagacity and practical wisdom he had 
displayed on all occasions, were uniyersally acknowledged; and 
it was obserred that, had his modest counsels been adopted by 
the unfortunate Sraddock, a totally different result might have 
attended the late campaign. 

An instance of this high appreciation of his merits occurs in a 
sermon preached on the 17th of August by the Bey. Samuel 
Dayis, wherein he cites him as 'Hhat heroic youth, Colonel 
Washington, vihom I cannot but hope Providence has hitherto 
preserved in so signal a manner for some important service to 
his country^ The expressions of the worthy clergyman may 
have been deemed enthusiastic at the time ; yiewed in connection 
with subsequent eyents they appear almost prophetic. 

Haying held a conference with Ooyernor Dinwiddle at Wil- 
liamsburg, and receiyed his instructions, Washington repaired, on 
the 14th of September, to Winchester, where he fixed his head- 
quarters. It was a place as yet of trifling magnitude, but im* 
portant from its position ; being a central point where the main 
roads met, leading from north to south, and east to west, and 
commanding the channels of traffic and communication between 
some of the most important colonies and a great extent of 

Here he was brooght into frequent and cordial communication 
with his old friend Lord Fairfax. The stir of war had reyiyed a 
spark of that military fire which animated the yeteran nobleman 
in the days of his youth, when an officer in the cayalry regiment 


of the Blaes. He was lord-lieatenant of the county. Greenway 
Court was his headquarters. He had organized a troop of horse, 
which occasionally was exercised about the lawn of his domain, 
and he was now as prompt to mount his steed for a cavalry parade 
as he ever was for a fox chase. The arrival of Washington fre- 
quently brought the old nobleman to Winchester to aid the young 
commander with his counsels or his sword. 

His services were soon put in requisition. Washington, hav- 
ing visited the frontier posts, established recruiting places, and 
taken other measures of security, had set off for Williamsburg on 
military business, when an express arrived at Winchester from 
Colonel Stephens, who commanded at Fort Cumberland, giving 
the alarm that a body of Indians were ravaging the country, 
burning the houses, and slaughtering the inhabitants. The ex- 
press was instantly forwarded after Washington ; in the mean 
time. Lord Fairfax sent out orders for the militia of Fairfax and 
Prince WUliam counties to arm and hasten to the defence of 
Winchester, where all was confusion and affright. One fearful 
account followed another. The whole country beyond it was said 
to be at the mercy of the savages. They had blockaded the 
rangers in the little fortresses or outposts provided for the protec- 
tion of neighborhoods. They were advancing upon Winchester 
with fire, tomahawk, and scalping-knife. The country people 
were flocking into the town for safety — ^the townspeople were 
moving off to the settlements beyond the Blue Bldge. The beau- 
tiful valley of the Shenandoah was likely to become a scene of 
savage desolation. 

In the height of the confusion Washington rode into the town 
He had been overtaken by Colonel Stephens' express. His pre* 
sence inspired some degree of confidence, and he succeeded in 


stoppiog most of the fugitives He would have taken the field at 
once against the savages, believing their ntunbers to be few ; bat 
not more than twenty-five of the militia could be mustered for the 
service. The rest refused to stir — ^they would rather die with 
their wives and children. 

Expresses were sent off to hurry up the militia ordered out 
by Lord Fairfax. Scouts were ordered out to discover the num- 
ber of the foe, and convey assurances of succor to the rangers said 
to be blocked up in the fortresses, though Washington suspected 
the latter to be '^ more encompassed by fear than by the enemy." 
Smiths were set to work to furbish up and repair such firearms as 
were in the place, and waggons were sent off for musket balls, 
flints, and provisions. 

Instead, however, of animated co-operation, Washington was 
encountered by diflioulties at every step. The waggons in ques- 
tion had to be impressed, and the waggoners compelled by force 
to assist " No orders," writes he, " are obeyed, but such as a 
party of soldiers or my own drawn sword enforces. Without 
this, not a single horse, for the most earnest occasion, can be had^ 
— to such a pitch has the insolence of these people arrived, by 
having every point hitherto submitted to them. However, I have 
given up none, where his majesty's service requires the contrary, 
and where my proceedings are justified by my instructions ; nor 
will I, unless they execute what they threaten — ^that is, blow out 
our brains." 

One is tempted to smile at this tirade about the " insolence 
of the people," and this zeal for "his majesty's service," on the 
part of Washington ; but he was as yet a young man and a young 
officer; loyal to his sovereign, and with hi^ notions of military 
authority, which he had acquired in the camp of Braddook, 


WHat he thus terms insolence was the dawning spirit of inde- 
pendence, which he was afterwards the foremost to cherish and 
promote; and which, in the present instance, had been provoked 
by the rough treatment from the military, whidi the waggoners 
and others of the yeomanry had ezperienoed when employed in 
Braddock's campaign, and by the neglect to pay them for their 
services. Much of Washington's difficulties also arose, doubtless- 
ly, firom the inefficiency of the military laws, for an amendment 
of which he had in vain made repeated applications to Qt>vemor 

In the mean time the panic and confusion increased. On 
Sunday an express hurried into town, breathless with haste and 
terror. The Indians, he said, were but twelve miles off; they 
had attacked the house of Isaac Julian ; the inhabitants were fly- 
ing for their lives. Washington immediately ordered the town 
guards to be strengthened ; armed some recruits who had just 
arrived, and sent out two scouts to reconnoitre the enemy. It 
was a sleepless night in Winchester. Horror increased with the 
dawn ; before the m^ could be paraded a second express arrived, 
ten times more terrified than the former. The Indians were 
within four miles of the town, killing and destroying all before 
ihem. He had heard the constant firing of ihe savages and the 
riiridto of their victims. 

The terror of Winchester now passed all bounds. Washing- 
ton put himself at the head of about forty men, militia and re- 
omits, and pushed for the scene of carnage. 

The result is almost too ludicrous for record. The whole 
cause of the alarm proved to be three drunken troopers, carous- 
ing, hallooii^, uttering the most unheard of imprecations, and ever 
and anon firing off their pistols. Wadiington interrupted them 

198 • LITE OF WASHINGTON. " [1755. 

in the midst of their rerel and blanphem j, and oondnoted tliem 
prisoners to town. 

The reported attack on the honse of Isaac Jnlian proved 
eqnallj an absnrd exaggeration. The ferocions party of Indianfl 
tamed oat to be a mulatto and a negro in quest of cattle. Thej 
had been seen bj a child of Julian, who alarmed his father, who 
alarmed the neighborhood. 

''These circumstances,^ says Washington, ''show what a 
panic prevails among the people ; how much the j are all alarmed 
at the most usual and customary cries ; and yet how impossible it 
is to get them to act in any respect for their common safety." 

They certainly present a lively picture of the feverish state 
of a frontier community, hourly in danger of Indian ravage and 
butchery; than which no kind of war&re is more fraught with 
real and imaginary horrors. 

The alarm thus ori^nating had spread throughout the coun* 
try. A captain, who arrived with recnuts from Alexandriai 
' reported that he had found the road across the Blue Bidge ob- 
structed by crowds of people flying for their lives, whom he en* 
deavored in vain to stop. They declared that Winchester was in 
flames I 

At length the band of Indians, whose ravages had produced 
this consternation throughout the land, and whose numbers did 
not exceed one hundred and fifty, being satiated with camagCi 
conflagration, and plunder, retreated, bearing off spoils and cap- 
tives. Intelligent scouts sent out by WashingtoUi followed their 
traces, and brought back certain intelligence that they had re- 
crossed the Allegany Mountains and returned to their homes on 
the Ohio. This report allayed the public panic and restored 
temporary quiet to the harassed frontier. 


Most of the Indians engaged in these rayages were Delawares 
and Shawnees, who, since Braddook's defeat, had been gained 
over by the French. A principal instigator was said to be 
Washington's old acquaintance, Shengis, and a reward was 
offered for his head. 

Scarooyadi, successor to the half-king, remained true to the 
English, and vindicated his people to the Gtoyemor and Council of 
Pennsjlyania from the charge of haying had any share in the late 
massacres. As to the defeat at the Monongahela, " it was ow- 
ing," he said, " to the pride and ignorance of that great general 
(Braddock) that came from England. He is now dead ; but he 
was a bad man when he was aliye. He looked upon us as dogs^ 
and would neyer hear any thing that was said to him. We often 
endeayored to adyise him, and tell him of the danger he was in 
wi^ his soldiers; but he neyer appeared pleased with us, and 
that was the reason that a great many of our warriors kft him." * 

Scarooyadi was ready with his warriors to take up the 
hatchet again with their English brothers against the French. 
« Let us unite our strength," said he ; " you are numerous, and 
all the English goyemors along your sea-shore can raise men 
enou^; but don't let those that come from oyer the great seas 
be concerned any more. They art unfit to fight in ihe woods. 
Let us go oursehes^^toe that came out of this groundJ^ 

No one felt more strongly than Washington the importance, 
at thb trying juncture, of securing the assistance of these forest 
warriors. '< It is in their power," said he, '< to be of infinite use 
to us; and without Indians, we shall neyer be able to cope with 
these cruel foes to our country." t 

* Hazard's Register of Ptim., y., p. 252, 266. 
t Letter to Dinwiddie. 


Washiogton had now time to inform Mmself of the &te of 
the other enterpviBOi inolnded in this year's plan of military 
operaticms. We diali briefly diq>ose of them, for the sake of car- 
rying on the general course of events. The history of Washing- 
ton is linked with the history of the colonies. The defeat of 
Braddock paralyied the expedition against Niagara. Many of 
(General Shirl^'s troops, which were assembled at Albany, struck 
with the consternation whidb it caused throughout the country, 
deserted* Host of the batteau men, who were to transport stores 
by yarious streams, returned home. It wa^ near the end of Au- 
gust before Shirley was in foroo at Oswego. Time was lost in 
building boats for the lake. Storms and head winds ensued; 
then sidoiess : military incapacity in the general completed the 
list of impediments. Deferring the completi(xi of the enterprise 
until the following year, Shirley returned to Albany with the 
main part of his forces in October, leaving about seven hundred 
men to garrison the fortifioations he had commenced at Oswego. 

To General William Johnson, it will be recollected, had been 
confided the expeditimi against Grown Point, on Lake Ohamplain. 
Preparations were made for it in Albai^, whence the troops were 
to march, and the artillery, ammunition, and stores to be con- 
veyed up the Hudson to the carrying-place between that river 
and Lake St Sacrament, as it was termed by the French, but 
Lake Oeorge, as Johnson named it, in honor of his sovereign. 
At the carrying-place a fort was commenced, subsequently called 
Fort Edward. Part of the troops remained under Qeneral Ly- 
man, to complete and garrison it; the main force proceeded 
under (General Johnson to Lake Oeorge, the plan beiug to descend 
that lake to its outlet at Ticonderoga, in Lake Champlain. Hav- 
ing to attend the arrival of batteaux forwarded for the purpose 


from Albany bj the oarryisg-plaoe, Jdtmaon encamped at the 
south end ''of the kke. He had with him between five and six 
thousand troops of New York and New England, and a host of 
Mohawk warriors, loyally deroted to him. 

It so happened that a French force of upwards ci three thou- 
sand men, under the Baron de Dieskau, an old general of high 
reputation, had recently arrived at Quebec, destined against Os- 
wego. The baron had proceeded to Montreal, and sent forward 
thence seven hundred of his troops, when news arrived of the army 
gathering on Lake (George for the attack on Crown Point, perhaps 
for an inroad into Canada. The public were in consternation; 
yielding to their importunities, the baron Uxjk post at Crown 
Point for its defence. Beside his regular troops, he had with 
him eight* hundred Canadians, and seven hundred Indians of dif« 
ferent tribes. The latter were under the general command 
of the Chevalier Legardeur de St. Pierre, the veteran officer to 
whom Washington had delivered the despatches of Oovemor Din* 
widdie on his diplomatic mission to the frontier. The dievalier 
was a man of great influence among the Indians. 

In the mean time Johnson remained encamped at the south 
end of Lake George, awaiting the arrival of his batteaux. The 
camp was protected in the rear by the lake, in front bya bulwark 
of felled trees ; and was flanked by thickly wooded swamps. 

On the 7th of September, the Indian scouts brought word 
that they had discovered three large roads made through the for- 
ests toward Fort Edward. An attack on that post was appre- 
hended. Adams, a hardy waggoner, rode express with orders to 
the commander to draw all the troops within the works. About 
midni^t came other scouts. They had seen the French within 
firor miles of the carrying«plaoe. They had heard the xepoti of a 

Vol. I.— »♦ 


musket, and the Toiee of a man crying for merey, sapposed to be 
the unfortimate Adams. In the morning Oolonel Williams was 
detached with one thousand men, and two hundred Indians, to 
intercept the enemy in their retreat. 

Within two hours after their departure a heavy fire of mus- 
ketry, in the midst of the forest, about three or four miles off, 
told ci a warm encounter. The drums beat to arms ; all were 
at their posts. The firing grew sharper and sharper, and nearer 
and nearer. The detadiment under Williams was evidently re- 
treatii^. Oolonel Oole was sent with three hundred men to cover 
tiieir retreat. The breastwork of trees was manned. Some 
heavy cannon wore dragged up to strengthen the front A num- 
ber of men were stationed witb a field-piece on an eminence on 
the left flank. 

In a short time fugitives made iheir appearance ; first singly, 
then in masses, flying in confusion, with a rattling fire behind 
them, and the horrible Indian war-whoop. Consternation seized 
upon the camp, ei^eoiany when the French emerged from the for- 
est in battle array, led by the Baron Dieskau, the gallant com- 
mander of Orown Point Had all his troops been as daring as 
himself the camp mi^t bave been carried by assault; but the 
Canadia ns and Indians held back, posted themselves behind trees, 
and took to bush-fighting. 

The baron was left with bis regulars (two hundred grenadiers) 
in flront of the camp. He kept up a fire by platoons, but at too 
gv^at a distance to do much mischief,* the Canadians and T^<^iftT>s 
filled firom their coverts. The artillery played on them in return. 
The camp, having recovered &om its panic, opened a fire of mus* 
ketiy. The engagement became general The French grenadiers 
stood A«r groqiid bravdy for a long time, but were dreadfully 

1705.] BBATH OF DIESKJLTT. 203. 

cat up by the artiQery and small anas. The action slackened 
on the part of the French, until, after a long contest, i^ej gare 
way. Johnson's men and the Indians then leaped over the 
breastwork, and a chance mecDey fight ensued, that ended in the 
slaughter, rout, or capture of the enemy. 

The Baron de Dieskau had been disabled by a wound in the 
leg. One of his men, who endeavored to assist him, was shot 
down by his side. The baron, left alone in the retreat, was 
found by the pursuers leaning against the stump of a tree. As 
they approached, he felt for his watch to insure kind treatment 
by delivering it up. A soldier, thinking he was drawing forth a 
pistol to defend himself^ shot him through the hipa He was 
conveyed a prisoner to tiie camp, but ultimately died of his 

The baron had really set off from Grown Point to surprise 
Fort Edward, and, if successful, to push on to Albany and Sche- 
nectady; lay them in ashes, and cut off all communication with 
Oswego. The Canadians and Indians, however, refused to attadc 
the fort, fearful of its cannon ; he had changed his plan, there- 
fore, and determined to surprise the camp. In the encounter 
with the detachment under Williams, the brave Chevalier Legar- 
deur de St. Pierre lost his life. On the part of the Americans, 
Hendrick, a famous old Mohawk sachem, grand ally of General 
Johnson, was slain. 

Johnson himself received a slight wound early in the action, 
and retired to his tent. He did not follow up the victory as he 
should have done, alleging that it was first necessary to build a 
strong fort at his encampment, by way of keeping up a communi- 
cation with Albany, and by the time this was completed, it 
would be too late to advance against Grown Point. He accord- 

204 LIFS 07 WASHIKQTON. [175& 

ingly erected a stockaded fort, wbiob receiyed the name of Wil- 
liam Henry; and haying garrisoned it, retnmed to Albany. His 
services, although they gained him no laurel-wreath, were re- 
warded by government with five thousand pounds, and a baro- 
netcy; and he was made Superintendent of Indian Afi&urs.* 

* Johnson's Letter to the Ck>lonial Gtovemon, Sept 9ih, 1*758. London 
Hog., 1756., p. 544 Hohnes' Am. Annals, vol il, p. 68. 4th edit, 1829. 


•nosM nr ihb imiiu i.aw8— DBKapisnE ov ihb noon — daoworbt axd twm 
QUEsnoir or piBOEDBarci— WASHZNoroir'B joubiist to bociox bul k or 


HoRTiFTiKG experience had conyinced Washington of the ineffi- 
ciency of the militia laws, and he now set about effecting a refor- 
Biation« Through his great and persevering efforts, an act was 
passed in the Virginia Legislatore giving prompt operation to 
courts-martial; punishing insubordination, mutinj and desertion 
with adequate severity; strengthening the authority of a com^ 
mander, so as to enable him to enforce order and discipline 
among officers as well as privates; and to avail himself, in time of 
emergency, and for the common safety, of the means and services 
of individuals. 

This being effected, he proceeded to fill up his companies, and 
to enforce this newly defined authority within his camp* All 
gaming, drinking, quarrelling, swearing, and similar excesseSi 
were prohibited under severe penalties. 

In disciplining his men, they were instructed not merely in 
ordinary and regular tactics, but in all the strategy of Indian 

206 LITB OF WABHIKGTOlf. [1755. 

warfare, and wliat is called <' bosh-figbting," — a knowledge indis- 
pensable in tbe wild wars of tbe wilderness. Stockaded forts, 
too, were constmcted at yarious points, as places of refnge and 
defence, in exposed neigbboiiioods. Under shelter of these, the 
inhabitants b^;an to retom to their deserted homes. A shorter 
and better road, also, was opened by him between Winchester and 
Cumberland, for the transmission of reinforcements and sopplies. 

His exertions, however, were impeded by one of those qnes- 
tions of precedence, which had so often annoyed him, arising 
from the difference between orown and proyinciai commissions. 
Maryland haying by a scanty appropriation raised a small militia 
force, stationed Captain Dagworthy, with a company of thirty 
men, at Fort Cumberland, which stood within the boundaries of 
that proyince. Dagworthy had seryed in Canada in the preced- 
ing war, and had receiyed a king's commission. This he had 
since commuted for half-pay, and, of course, had virtually parted 
with its priyileges. He was nothing more, therefore, than a Ma- 
ryland provincial captain, at ihe head of thirty men. He now, 
however, assumed to act under his royal commission, and refused 
to obey the orders of any office, however high his rank, who 
merely held his commission from a governor. Nay, when Oovor- 
nor, or rather Colonel Innes, who commanded at the fort, was 
called away to North Carolina by his private affiurs, the captain 
took upon himself the command, and insisted upon it as his right 

Pu*ties instantly arose, and quarrels ensued among the inferior 
officers ; grave questions were agitated between the Governors of 
Maryland and Virginia, as to the fort itself; the former claiming 
it as within his province, the latter insisting that, as it had been 
built according to orders sent by the king, it was the king's fort, 
and could not be subject to the authority of Maryland. 

1756.] jJOUMMT TO BOSTOlf. 207 

Washington refrained from mingling in thia dispute ; bat in- 
timated that if the comnxander-in-ohief of the forces of Virginia 
mnst yield precedence to a Maryland captain of thirty men, he 
fihonld hare to resign his commission, as he had been cmnpelled 
to do before, by a question of military rank. 

So difficult was it, however, to settle these disputes of prece- 
dence, especially where the claims of two goyemors came in col- 
lision, that it was determined to refer the matter to Hajor-Oen- 
eral Shirley, who had succeeded Braddock in the general com- 
mand of the colonies. For this purpose Washington was to go 
to Boston, obtain a decision firom Shirley of the point in dispute, 
and a general regulation, by which these difficulties could be pre- 
Tented in future. It was thought, also, that in a conference with 
the commander-in-chief he might inform himself of the military 
m^ksures in contemplation. 

Accordingly, on the 4th of February (1756), leaying Colonel 
Adam Stephens in command of the troops, Washington set out 
on his mission, accompanied by his aide-de-camp. Captain 
George Mercer of Virginia, and Captain Stewart of the Virginia 
light horse ; the officer who had taken care of General Braddock 
in his last moments. 

In those days the conveniences of travelling, even between our 
main cities, were few, and the roads execrable. The party, there- 
fore, travelled in Virginia style, on horseback, attended by their 
black servants in livery.* In this way they accomplished a jour- 

* We haye hitherto treated of Washington in his oampaigns in the 
wilderness, frugal and scanty in his equipments, often, very probably, in 
little better thsA banter's garb. His present excursion through some of the 
Atlantic cities presents him in a different aspect His recent intercourse 
with yonng British officers, had probably elevated his notions as to style in 
dress and appearance ; at least we are inclined to suspect so from the fol- 

208 LIFE OF WASHmaTOK. 11756. 

ney of fire hundred miles in the depth of winter; stopping for 
some days at Philadelphia and New York. Those cities were 
then comparatiyelj small, and the arrival of a party of young 
Southern officers attracted attention. The late disastrous battle 
was still the theme of every tongue, and the honorable way in 
which these young officers had acquitted themselves in it, made 
them objects of universal interest. Washington's fame, especially, 
had gone before him ; having been spread by the officers who had 
served with him, and by the public honors decreed him by the 
Virginia Legislature. '' Your name," wrote his former fellow- 
campaigner, Oist, in a letter dated in the preceding autumn, ** is 
more talked of in Philadelphia than that of any other person in 
the army, and every body seems willing to venture under your 

With these prepossessions in his &vor, when we consider 
Washington's noble person and demeanor, his consummate horse- 
manship, the admirable horses he was accustomed to ride, and the 
aristocratical style of his equipments, we may imagine the effect 
produced by himself and his little cavalcade, as they clattered 

lowing aristocratical order for dothcfl, sent shortly before the time in qaet> 
tion» to his correspondent in London. 

"2 complete livery suits for servants; with a spare cloak, and all other 
necessary trimmings for two suits more. I would have yon choose the 
livery by our arms, only as the field of the arms is white, I think the 
clothes had better not be quite so, but nearly like the inclosed The trim- 
mings and lacings of scarlet, and a scarlet waistcoat If livery lace is not 
quite disused, I should be glad to have the cloaks laced. I like that fashion 
best, and two silver-laced hats for the above servants. 

'* 1 set of horse furniture, with livery lace, with the Washington crest 
on the housings, Ac The cloak to be of the same piece and color of the 

" 8 gold and scariet sword-knots. 8 silver and blue do. 1 fashionable 
gold4aced hat* 


throcigh the streets of Philadelphia, and New York, and Boston* 
It is needless to say, their sojourn in eaoh eity was a continual 

The mission to General Shirley was oiiirely successful as to 
the question of rank A written order firom the commander-in- 
chief determined that Dagworthy was entitled to the rank of a 
proyincial captain, only, and, of course, must on all occasions 
give precedence to Colonel Washington, as a proyincial field 
officer. The latter was disappointed, howerer, in the hope of 
getting himself and his officers put upon the regular establish* 
ment, with commissions from the king, and had to remain sub- 
jected to mortifying questions of rank and etiquette, when serving 
in company with regular troops. 

From General Shirley he learnt that the main objects of the 
ensuing campaign would be the reduction of Fort Niagara, so as 
to cut off the communication between Canada and Louisiana, the 
capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, as a measure of safety 
for New York, the besieging of Fort Dnquesne, and the menacing 
of Quebec by a body of troops which were to advance by the 
Kennebec Biver. 

The official career of General Shirley was drawing to a dose. 
Though a man of good parts, he had always, until recently, acted 
in a civil capadity, and proved incompetent to conduct military 
operations. He was recalled to England, and was to be super- 
seded by General Abercrombie, who was coming out with two 

The general command in America, however, was to be held 
by the Earl of Loudoun, who was invested with powers almost 
equal to those of a viceroy, being placed above all the colonial gov- 
ernors. These might claim to be civil and military representa- 


tires of their soYereign within their respective oolonies ; bnt^ even 
there, were bound to defer and yield precedenoe to this their 
official superior. This was part of a plan devised long since, but 
now first brought into operation, by which the ministry hoped to 
unite the colonies under military rule, and oblige the Assemblies, 
magistrates, and people to furnish quarters and provide a general 
fund subject to the control of this military dictator. 

Beside his general command, the Earl of Loudoun was to be 
governor of Virginia and colonel of a royal American regiment 
of four battalions, to be raised in the oolonies, but furnished with 
officers who, like himself, had seen foreign service. The cam* 
paign would open on his arrival, which, it was expected, would be 
early in the spring ; and brilliant results were anticipated. 

Washington remained ten days in Boston, attending, with 
groat interest, the meetings of the Massachusetts Legislature, in 
which the plan of military operations was ably discussed; and 
receiving the most hospitable attentions from the polite and intel* 
ligent society of the place, after which he returned to New Yorlu 

Tradition gives very different motives from those of business 
for bis two sojourns in the latter city. He found there an early 
friend and school-mate, Beverly Robinson, son of John Robinson, 
speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses. He was living hap* 
pily and prosperously with a young and wealthy bride, having 
married one of the nieces and heiresses of Mr. Adolphus Philipse, 
a rich landholder, whose manor-house is still to be seen on the 
banks of the Hudson. At the house of Mr. Beverly Robinson, 
where Washington was an honored guest, he met Miss Mary 
Philipse, sister of and co-heiress with Mrs. Robinson, a young 
lady whose personal attractions are said to have rivalled her 
reputed wealth. 


We haye already giyen an instanoe of Wadungton's early 
Beosibility to female charms. A life, howerer, of constant actiyi* 
ty and care, passed for the most part in the wilderness and on the 
frontier, far from female society, had left little mood or leisure 
for the indalgence of the tender sentiment ; but made him more 
sensible, in the present brief interval of gay and social life, to the 
attractions of an elegant woman, brought up in the polite cirde 
of New York. 

That he was an open admirer of Miss Philipse is an historical 
fact; that he sought her hand, but was refused, is traditional, and 
not very probable. His military rank, his early laurels and dis- 
tinguished presence, were all calculated to win favor in female 
eyes; but his sojourn in New York was brief; he may have been 
diffident in urging his suit with a lady accustomed to the homage 
of society and surrounded by admirers. The most probable ver- 
sion of the story is, that he was called away by his public duties 
before he had made sufficient approaches in his siege of the lady^s 
heart to warrant a summons to surrender. In the latter part of 
March we find him at 'Williamsburg attending the opening of the 
Legislature of Virginia, eager to promote measures for the protec- 
tion of the frontier and the capture of Fort Daquesne, the leading 
object of his ambition. Maryland and Pennsylvania were erect- 
ing forts for the defence of their own borders, but showed no 
disposition to co-operate with Virginia in the field ; and artillery, 
artillerymen, and engineers were wanting for an attack on fortified 
places. Washington urged, therefore, an augmentation of the 
provincial forces, and various improvements in the militia laws. 

Wliile thus engaged, he received a letter from a friend and 
oonfidant in New York, warning him to hasten back to that city 
before it was too late, as Captain Morris, who had been his fellow 


aide-de-camp under Braddook, was laying close siege to Miss 
Philipse. Sterner alarms, however, summoned him in another 
direction. Expresses from Winchester brought word that the 
French had made another sortie from Fort Duijuesne, accompa- 
nied by a band of savages, and were spreading terror and desola- 
tion through the country. In this moment of exigency all softer 
claims were forgotten; Washington repaired in all haste to his 
post at Winchester, and Captain Morris was left to urge his suit 
unrivalled and carry off the priie. 



Refort had not exaggerated the troubles of tlie frontier. It was 
marauded by merciless bands of savages, led, in some instances, 
by Frenchmen. Travellers were murdered, farm-bouses burnt 
down, families butchered, and even stockaded forts, or houses of 
refage, attacked in open day. The marauders had crossed the 
mountains and penetrated the valley of the Shenandoah; and 
several persons had fallen beneath the tomahawk in the neigh- 
borhood of Winchester. 

Washington's old friend, Lord Fairfax, found himself no 
longer safe in his rural abode. Greenway Court was in the piidst 
of a woodland region, affording a covert approach for the stealthy 
savage. His lordship was considered a great chief, whose scalp 
would be an inestimable trophy for an Indian warrior. Fears 
were entertained, therefore, by his friends, that an attempt would 
be made to surprise him in his green-wood castle. His nephew, 
Colonel Martin, of the militia, who resided wil^ him, suggested 

214 UFB OF WASHINaXON. [1756 

the expediency of a removal to the lower settlements, beyond the 
Bine Ridge. The high-spirited old nobleman demurred; his 
heart cleaved to the home which he had formed for himself in the 
wilderness. " I am an old man," said he, << and it is of little im- 
portance whether I fall by the tomahawk or die of disease and old 
age ; bnt you are young, and, it is to be hoped, have many years 
before you, therefore decide for us both ; my only fear is, that if 
we retire, the whole district will break up and take to flight; and 
this fine country, which I have been at such oost and trouble to 
improve, will again become a wilderness.'* 

Colonel Martin took but a short time to deliberate. He knew 
the fearless character of his uncle, and perceived what was his 
inclination. He considered that his lordship had numerous re- 
tainers, white and black, with hardy huntsmen and foresters to 
rally round him, and that Greenway Court was at no great dis- 
tance from Winchester ; he decided, therefore, that they should 
remain and abide the course of events. 

Washington, on his arrival at Winchester, found the inhabi- 
tants in great dismay. He resolved immediately to organize a 
force, composed partly of troops from Fort Cumberland, partly 
of militia from Winchester and its vicinity, to put himself at its 
head, and '^ scour the woods and suspected places in all the moun^ 
tains and valleys of this part of the frontier, in quest of the In- 
dians and their more cruel associates." 

He accordingly despatched an express to Fort Cumberland 
with orders for a detachment from the garrison; ''but how," said 
he, '^ are men to be raised at Winchester, since orders are no 
longer regarded in the county ? " 

Lord Fairfax, and other militia officers with whom he consult- 
ed, advised that each captain should call a private muster of his 


men, and read before them an address, or ^'exhortation "as it was 
called, being an appeal to their patriotism and fears, and a sum- 
mons to assemble on the 15th of April to enroll themselves for 
the projected moontain foray. 

This measure was adopted ; the private mnsterings ooourred ; 
the exhortation was read ; the time and place of assemblage ap« 
pointed ; bat, when the day of enrolment arrived, not more than 
fifteen men appeared upon the ground. In the mean time the 
express returned with sad accounts from Fort Cumberland. No 
troops could be furnished from that quarter. The garrison was 
scarcely strong enough for self-defence, having sent out detach- 
ments in different directions. The express had narrowly escaped 
with his life, having been fired upon repeatedly, his horse shot 
under him, and his clothes riddled with bullets. The roads, he 
said, were infested by savages ; none but hunters, who knew how 
to thread the forests at night, could travel with safety. 

Horrors accumulated at Winchester. Every hour brought its 
tale of terror, true or false, of houses burnt, families massacred, 
or beleaguered and famishing in stockaded forta The danger 
approached. A scouting party had been attacked in the Warm 
Spring Mountain, about twenty miles distant, by a large body of 
French and Indians, mostly on horseback. The captain of the 
scouting party and several of his men had been slain, and the rest 
put to fiight. 

An attack on Winchester was apprdiended, and the terrors of 
the people rose to agony. They now turned to Washington as 
their main hope. The women surrounded him, holding up their 
children, and imploring him with tears and cries to save them 
from the savages. The youthful commander looked round on the 
suppliant crowd with a countenance beaming with pity, and a 


heart wrung with anguish. A letter to Ooyemor Dinwiddie 
shows the conflict of his feelings. ^< I am too little aoquaintod 
with pathetic language to attempt a description of these people's 
distresses. But what can I do ? I see their situation; I know 
their danger, and participate their sufierings, without haying it 
in my power to give them further relief than uncertain promises." 
— <' The supplicating tears of the women, and moving petitions 
of the men, melt me into such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly de- 
clare, if I know my own mind, I oould offer myself a willing 
sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would contribiUe 
to the people's ease." 

The unstudied eloquence of this letter drew from the governor 
an instant order for a militia force from the upper counties to his 
assistance; but the Virginia newspapers, in descanting on the 
frontier troubles, threw discredit on the army and its ofiEicers, 
and attached blame to its commander. Stung to the quidc by 
this injustice, Washington publicly declared that nothing but the 
imminent danger of the times prevented him from instantly re- 
signing a command from which he could never reap either honor 
or benefit. His sensitiveness called forth strong letters from hu 
friends, assuring him of the high sense entertained at the seat of 
government, and elsewhere, of his merits and services. " Tour 
good health and fortune are the toast of every table," wrote his 
early friend, Colonel Fairfax, at that time a member of the gov^ 
emor's council. " Your endeavors in the service and defence of 
your country must redound to your honor." 

" Our hopes, dear George," wrote Mr. Bobinson, the l^>eaker 
of the House of Burgesses, '^ are all fixed on you for bringing 
our affairs to a happy issue. Consider what fatal consequedces 
to ypur country your resigning the command at this time may 

l^Ce.] SCANTY RELIEF. 217 

be, especially as there is do doubt most of the officers will follow 
your example." 

In fact, the situation and services of the youthful commander, 
shut up in a frontier town, destitute of forces, surrounded by sav- 
age foes, gallantly, though despairingly, devoting himself to the 
safety of a suffering people, were properly understood throughout 
the country, and excited a ^ow of enthusiasm in his favor. The 
Legislature, too, began at length to act, but timidly and ineffi- 
ciently. '^The country knows her danger," writes one of the 
members, '^ but such is her parsimony that she is willing to wait 
for the rains to wet the powder, and the rats to eat the bow- 
strings of the enemy, rather than attempt to drive them from her 

The measure of relief voted by the Assembly was an addi- 
tional appropriation of twenty thousand pounds^ and an increase 
of the provincial force to fifteen hundred men. With this, it was 
proposed to erect and garrison a chain of frontier forts, extend- 
ing through the ranges of the Allegany Mountains, from the Po- 
tomac to the borders of North Carolina ; a distance of between 
three and four hundred miles. This was one of the inconsiderate 
projects devised by Governor Dinwiddle. 

Washington, in letters to the governor and to the speaker of 
the House of Burgesses, urged the impolicy of such a plan, with 
their actual force and means. The forts, he observed, ought to 
be within fifteen or eighteen miles of each other, that their spies 
might be able to keep watch over the intervening country, other- 
wise the Indians would pass between them unperceived, effect 
their ravages, and escape to the mountains, swamps, and ravines, 
bef(A:e the troops from the forts could be assembled to pursue 
tliem. They ought each to be garrisoned with eighty or a hundred 

yoL. T.— 10 


men, bo as to afford detachments of sufficient strength, without 
leaving the garrison too weak; for the Indians are the most 
stealthy and patient of spies and lurkers ; will lie in wait for 
days together about small forts of the kind, and, if they find, by 
some chance prisoner, that the garrison is actually weak, will 
first surprise and cut off its scouting parties, and then attach the 
fort itsel£ It was evident, therefore, observed he, that to. garri- 
son properly such a line of forts, would require, at least, two 
thousand men. And even then, a line of such extent might be 
br(^en through at one end before the other end could yield as- 
sistance. Feint attacks, also, might be made at one point, while 
the real attack was made at another, quite distant ; and the coun- 
try be overrun before its widely-posted defenders could be alarmed 
and concentrated. Then must be taken into consideration the 
immense cost of building so many forts, and the constant and con- 
suming expense of supplies and transportation. 

His idea of a defensive plan was to build a strong fort at Win- 
chester, the central point, where all the main roads met of a wide 
range of scattered settlements, where tidings could soonest be col- 
lected from every quarter, and whence reinforcements and supplies 
could most readily be forwarded. It was to be a grand deposit 
of military stores, a residence for commanding officers, a place of 
refuge for the women and children in time of alarm, when the 
men had suddenly to take the field ; in a word, it was to be the 
citadel of the frontier. 

Beside this, he would have three or four large fortresses 
erected at convenient distances upon the frontiers, with powerful 
garrisons, so as to be able to throw out, in constant succession, 
strong scouting parties, to range the country. Fort Cumberland 
he condemned as being out of the province, and out of the track 

1756.] KILITABY BBFOBMa 219 

of Indian incursions ; inBomnoh tkat it eeldom reoeived an ahum 
until all the mischief had been effected. 

His representations with respect to military laws and regula- 
tions were equally cogent. In the late act of the Assembly for 
raising a regiment, it was proyided that, in cases of emergency, if 
recruits should not offer in sufficient number, the militia mi^t be 
drafted to supply the deficiencies, but only to serve until Deoem'* 
ber, and not to be marched out of the province. In this case, 
said he, before they have entered upon service, or got the least 
smattering of duty, they will claim a discharge ; if they are pur« 
suing an enemy who has committed the most unheard-of citielties, 
he has only to step across the Potomac, and he is safe. Then as 
to the limits of service, they might just as easily have been en- 
listed for seventeen months, as seven. They would then have 
been seasoned as well as disciplined ; "for we find by experience," 
says he, " that our poor ragged soldiers would kill the most active 
militia in five days' marching." 

Then, as to punishments : death, it was true,Jiad been decreed 
for mutiny and desertion ; but there was no punishment for cow- 
ardice ; for holding correspondence with the enemy ] for quitting, or 
sleeping on one's post ; all capital offences, according to the military 
codes of Europe Neither were there provisions for quartering or 
billeting soldiers, or impressing waggons and other conveyances, 
in times of exigency. To crown all, no court-martial could sit 
out of Virginia; a most embarrassing regulation, when troops 
were fifty or a hundred miles beyond the frontier. He earnestly 
suggested amendments on all these points, as well as with regard 
to the soldiers' pay; which was less than that of the regular 
troops, or the troops of most of the other provinces. 

All these suggestions, showing at this youthful age tiiat fore< 


thought and ciroumspeotion which diBtinguished him dironghont 
life, were repeatedly and eloquently urged upon Governor Din- 
widdle, with very little effect. The plan of a frontier line of 
twenty-three forts was persisted in. Fort Oumheriand was per- 
tinaciously kept up at a great and useless expense of men and 
money, and the militia laws remained lax and inefficient. It was 
decreed, however, that the great central fort at Winchester 
reoommended by Washington, should be erected. 

In the height of the alarm, a company of one hundred gentle 
men, mounted and equipped, volunteered their services to repaii 
to the frontier. They were headed by Peyton Randolph, attor- 
ney-general, a man deservedly popular throughout the province. 
Their offer was gladly accepted. They were denominated the 
"Gentlemen Associators," and great expectations, of course, 
were entertained from their gallantry and devotion. They were 
empowered, also, to aid with their judgment in the selection of 
places for frontier forts. 

The " Gentlemen Associators," like all gentlemen associators 
in similar emergencies, turned out with great zeal and spirit, and 
immense popular effect, but wasted their fire in preparation, and 
on the march. Washington, who well understood the value of 
such aid, observed dryly in a letter to Governor Dinwiddie, " I 
am heartily glad that you have fixed upon these gentlemen to 
point out the places for erecting forts, but regret to find their 
motions so slow." There is no doubt that they would have con- 
ducted themselves gallantly, had they been put to the test ; but 
before they arrived near the scene of danger the alarm was over. 
About the beginning of May, scouts brought in word that the 
tracks of the marauding savages tended toward Fort Duquesne, 
as if on the return. In a little while it was asoertained that they 


had recrossed the Allegany Mountain to the Ohio in such nnm- 
hers as to leave a beaten track, equal to that made in the preced- 
lug year by the anny of Braddock. 

The repeated inroads of the sayages called for an effectual 
and permanent check. The idea of beiijg constantly subject to 
the irruptions of a deadly foe, that moved with stealth and mys- 
tery, and was only to be traced by its ravages, and counted by its 
footprints, discouraged all settlement of the country. The beau- 
tiful valley of the Shenandoah was fieist becoming a deserted and 
a silent place. Her people, for the most part, had fled to the 
older settlements south of the mountains, and the Blue Ridge 
was likely soon to become virtually the frontier line of the pro- 

We have to record one signal act of retaliation on the per- 
fidious tribes of the Ohio, in which a person whose name subse- 
quently became dear to Americans, was concerned. Prisoners 
who had escaped from the savages reported that Shingis, Wash- 
ington's faithless ally, and another sachem, called Captain Jacobs, 
were the two heads of the hostile bands that had desolated the 
frontier. That they lived at Kittanning, an Indian town, about 
forty miles above Fort Duquesne ; at which their warriors were 
fitted out for incursions, and whither they returned with their 
prisoners and plunder. Captain Jacobs was a daring fellow, and 
scoffed at palisadoed forta <' He could take any fort," he said, 
"thatwould catch fire." 

A party of two hundred and eighty provincials, resolute men, 
undertook to surprise, and destroy this savage nest. It was 
commanded by Colonel John Armstrong; and with him went 
Doctor, now Captain Hugh Mercer, eager to revenge the savage 
atrocities of which he had been a witness at the defeat of Brad- 


Armstrong led his men rapidly, bat secretly, oyer mountain, 
and through forest, until, after a long and perilous march, they 
reached the Allegany. It was a moonlight night when they arrired 
in the neighborhood of Kittanning. They were guided to the 
village by whoops and yells, and the sound of the Indian drum. 
The warriors were celebrating their exploits by the triumphant, 
scalp-dance. After a while the revel ceased, and a number of 
fires appeared here and there in a corn-field. They were made 
by such of the Indians as slept in the open air, and were intended 
to drive off the gnats. Armstrong and his men lay down " quiet 
and hush,'' observing every thing narrowly, and waiting until the 
moon should set, and the warriors be asleep. At length the 
moon went down, the fires burned low ; all was quiet Arm- 
strong now roused his men, some of whom, wearied by their long 
march, had fallen asleep. He divided his forces ; part were to 
attack the warriors in the corn-field, part were despatched to the 
houses, which were dimly seen by the first streak of day. There 
was sharp firing in both quarters, for the Indians, though taken 
by surprise, fought bravely, inspired by the war-whoop of their 
chief, Captain Jacobs. The women and children fled to the woods. 
Several of the provincials were killed and wounded. Captain 
Hugh Mercer received a wound in the arm, and was taken to the 
top of a hill. The fierce chieftain. Captain Jacobs, was besieged 
in hb house, which had port-holes ; whence he and his warriors 
made havoc among the assailants. The adjoining houses were set 
on fire. The chief was summoned to surrender himself. He re- 
plied he was a man, and would not be a prisoner. He was told 
he would be burnt His reply was, " he would kill four or five 
before he died." The flames and smoke approached. *' One of 
the besieged warriors, to show his manhood, began to sing. A 


squaw at the same time was heard to cry, but was severely re- 
buked by the men." • 

In the end, the warriors were driven out by the flames ; some 
escaped, and some were shot. Among the latter was Ci^tain 
Jacobs, and his gigantic son, said to be seven feet high. Fire 
was now set to all the houses, thirty in number. " During the 
burning of the houses," says Colonel Armstrong, '' we were agree- 
ably entertained with a quick succession of charged guns, 
gradually firing off as reached by the fire, but much more so 
with the vast explosion of sundry bags, and large kegs of powder, 
wherewith almost every house abounded." The colonel was in a 
strange condition to enjoy such an entertainment, having received 
a wound from a large musket-ball in the shoulder. 

The object of the expedition was accomplished. Thirty or 
forty of the warriors were slain ; their stronghold was a smoking 
ruin. There was danger of the victors being cut off by a detadi- 
ment from Fort Buquesne. They made the best of their way, 
therefore, to their horses, which had been left at a distance, and 
set off rapidly on their march homewards. 

Captain Hugh Mercer was again left behind, wounded. He 
had another long, solitary, and painful struggle through the wil- 
derness, and again reached Fort Cumberland sick, weary, and 
'half fiimished. ' Heaven reserved him to illustrate a more distin- 
guished page in American history.f 

* Letter from Ck>L Armstrong; 
f Colonial Register, viL, 257. 



Throuohout the Bummer of 1756, Washington exerted himself 
diligently in carrying out measures determined upon for frontier 
security. The great fortress at Winchester was commenced, and 
the work urged forward as expeditiously as the delays and per- 
plexities incident to a badly organized service would permit It 
received the name of Fort Loudoun, in honor of the commander- 
in-chief, whose arrival in Virginia was hopefully anticipated. 

As to the sites of the frontier posts, they were decided upcm 
by Washington and his officers, after frequent and long consulta- 
tions; parties were sent out to work on them, and men recruited, 
and militia drafted, to garrison them. Washington visited occa- 
sionally such as were in progress, and near at hand. It was a 
service of some peril, for the mountains and forests were still in- 
fested by prowling savages, especially in the neighborhood of 
these new forts. At one time when he was reconnoitering a wild 
part of the country, attended merely by a servant and a guide. 


two men were murdered by the IndiaoB in a solitary defile shortiy 
after he had passed through it. 

In the autumn, he made a tour of inspection along the whole 
line, accompanied by his friend, Captain Hugh Mercer, who had 
recovered from his recent wounds. This tour furnished repeated 
proofs of the inefficiency of the militia system. In one place he 
attempted to raise a force with which to scour a region infested 
by roving bands of savages. After waiting several days, but five 
men answered to his summons. In another place, where three 
companies had been ordered to the relief of a fort, attacked by 
the Indians, all that could be mustered were a captain, a lieuten- 
ant, and seven or eight men. 

When the militia were drafted, and appeared under arms, the 
case was not much better. It was now late in the autumn; 
their term of service, by the act of the Legislature, expired in 
December, — half of the time, therefore, was lost in marching out 
and home. Their waste of provisions was enormous. To be put 
on allowance, like other soldiers, they considered an indignity. 
They would sooner starve than carry a few days' provisions on 
their backs. On the march, wh^i breakfast was wanted, they 
would knock down the first beeves they met with, and, after regal- 
ing themselves, march on till dinner, when they would take the 
same method ; and so for supper, to the great oppression of the 
people. For the want of proper military laws, they were obsti- 
nate, self-willed, and perverse. Every individual had his own 
crude notion of things, and would undertake to direct. If his 
advice were neglected, he would think himself slighted, abused, 
and injured, and,* to redress himself, would depart for his home. 

The garrisons were weak for want of men, but more so from 
indolence and irregularity. None were in a posture of defence ; 

Vol. I.-10* 


few bnt might be sarprised with the greatest ease. At one fbrt^ 
the Indians rushed from their lorking-pkce, pounced upon ser^ 
eral children playing under the walls, and bore them off before 
thej were discovered. Another fort was surprised, and many of 
the people massacred in the same manner. In the course of -his 
tour, as he and his party approached a fort, he heard a quids 
firing for several minutes ; concluding that it was attacked, tiiey 
hastened to its relief, but found the garrison were merely amus- 
ing themselves firing at a mark, or for wagers. lo this way they 
would waste their ammunition as freely as they did their pro- 
visions. In the mean time, the inhabitants of the country were 
in a wretched situation, feeling the little dependence to be put on 
militia, who were slow in coming to their assistance, indifferent 
about their preservation, unwilling to continue, and regardless of 
every thing but of their own ease. In short, they were so appre- 
hensive of approaching ruin, that the whole back country was in a 
general motion towards the southern colonies. 

From the Catawba, he was escorted along a range of forts by 
a colonel, and about thirty men, chiefly officers. " With this 
small company of irr^ulars," says he, " with whom order, r^;u- 
larity, circumspection, and vigilance were matters of derision and 
contempt, we set out, and, by the protection of Providence, 
reached Augusta court-house in seven days, without meeting the 
enemy; otherwise, we must have fallen a sacrifice, throu^ the 
indiscretion of these whooping, hallooing, gentlemen soldiers ! ^ 

How lively a picture does this give of the militia system at 
all times, when not subjected to strict military law. 

What rendered this year's service peculiarly Irksome and em- 
barrassing to Washington, wa3 the nature of his correspondence 
with Gk)vemor Dinwiddle. That gentleman, either from ^e 


oatoral hurry atd confasion of his mind, or from a real dispo- 
ntion to perplex, was extremely ambiguous and unsatisfactory in 
most of his orders and replies. *^ So much am I kept in the 
dark," says Washington, in one of his letters, '^ that I do not 
know whether to prepare for the offensive or defensive. What 
would be absolutely necessary for the one, would be quite useless 
for the other." And again : " The orders I receive are full of 
ambiguity. I am left like a wanderer in the wilderness, to pro- 
ceed at haiard. I am answerable for consequences, and blamed, 
without the privilege of defence." 

In nothing was this disposition to perplex more apparent 
than in the governor's replies respecting Fort Cumberland. 
Wadiington had repeatedly urged the abandoipment of this fort 
as a pkce of frontier deposit, being within the bounds of another 
province, and out of the track of Indian incursion ; so that often 
the alarm would not reach there until after the mischief had been 
effected. He applied, at length, for particular and positive direc- 
tions from the governor on this head. '* The following," says 
he, '^ is an exact copy of his answer : — ^ Fort Cumberland is a 
king*8 fort, and built diiefly at the charge of the colony, there- 
fore properly under our direction until a new governor is ap- 
pointed.' Now, whether I am to understand this aye or no to 
the plain simple question asked. Is the fort to be continued or 
removed ? I know not But in all important matters I am di- 
rected in this ambiguous and uncertain way." 

Gt>vemor Dinwiddle subsequentiy made himself explicit on 
this point Taking offence at some of Washington's comments 
on the military affitirs of the frontier, he made the stand of a self- 
willed and obstinate man, in the case of Fort Cumberland ; and 
represented it in such light to Lord Loudoun, as to draw from 


his lordship an order that it should be kept up : and an implied 
censure of the conduct of Washington in slighting a post of such 
paramount importance. ^' I cannot agree with Colonel Washing- 
ton," writes his lordship, '< in not drawing in the posts from the 
stockade forts, in order to defend that advanced one; and I 
should imagine much more of the frontier will be exposed by re- 
tiring your advanced posts near Winchester, where I understand 
he is retired ; for, from your letter, I take it for granted he has 
before this executed his plan, without waiting for any advice. If 
he leaves any of the great quantity of stores behind, it will be 
very unfortunate, and he ought to consider that it must lie at his 
own door." 

Thus powerfully supported, Dinwiddie went so far as to order 
that the garrisons should be withdrawn from the stockades and 
small frontier forts, and most of the troops from Winchester, to 
strengthen Fort Cumberland, which was now to become head- 
quarters ; thus weakening the most important points and places, 
to concentrate a force where it was not wanted, and would be out 
of the way in most cases of alarm. By these meddlesome moves, 
made by Governor Dinwiddie from a distance, without knowing 
any thing of the game, all previous arrangements were reversed, 
every thing was thrown into confusion, and enormous losses and 
expenses were incurred. 

"Whence it arises, or why, I am truly ignorant," writes 
Washington to Mr. Speaker Eobinson, " but my strongest repre- 
sentations of matters relative to the frontiers are disr^arded as 
idle and frivolous ; my propositions and measures as partial and 
selfish; and all my sincerest endeavors for the service of my 
coimtry are perverted to the worst purposea My orders are 
dark and uncertain; to-day approved, to-morrow disapproved.'' 


Whence all this contradiction and embarrassment arose has 
since been explained, and with apparent reason. Governor Din- 
widdle had never recovered from the piqae caused by the popular 
elevation of Washington to the command in preference to his £i^ 
vorite, Colonel Innes. His irritation was kept alive by a little 
Scottish faction, who were desirous of disgusting Washington 
with the service, so as to induce him to resign, and make 
way for his rival. They might have carried their point during 
the panic at Winchester, had not his patriotism and his sympa- 
thy with the public distress been more powerful than his self-love. 
He determined, he said, to bear up under these embarrassments 
in the hope of better regulations when Lord Loudoun should 
arrive; to whom he looked for the future fate of Virginia. 

While these events were occurring on the Virginia frontier, 
military afiiairs went on tardily and heavily at the north. The 
campaign against Canada, which was to have opened early in the 
year, hung fire. The armament coming out for the purpose, 
imder Lord Loudoun, was delayed through the want of energy 
and union in the British cabinet. (General Abercrombie, who 
was to be next in command to his lordship, and to succeed to 
Oeneral Shirley, set sail in advance for New York with two regi- 
ments, but did not reach Albany, the head-quarters of military 
operation, until the 25th of June. He billeted his soldiers 
upon the town, much to the disgust of the inhabitants, and talked 
of ditching and stockading it, but postponed all exterior enter- 
prises until the arrival of Lord Loudoun ; then the campaign was 
to open in earnest. 

On the 12th of July, came word that the forts Ontario and 
Oswego, OQ each side of the mouth of the Oswego Biver, were 
menaced by the French. They had been imperfectly constructed 

230 LIFE OF WASmNGTOK. [1766. 

by Shirley, and were iiiBuffiicientlj garrisoned, yet contained a 
great amount of military and nayal stores, and protected the ves- 
sels which oroised on Lake Ontario. 

Major-general Webb was ordered by Abercrombie to hold 
himself in readiness to march with one regiment to the relief of 
these forts, but received no farther orders. Every thing awaited 
the arrival at Albany of Lord Loudoun, which at length took 
place, on the 29th of July. There were now at least ten thou- 
sand troops, regulars and provincials, loitering in an idle camp at 
Albany, yet relief to Oswego was still delayed. Lord Loudoun 
was in £iivor of it, but the governments of New York and New 
England urged the immediate reduction of Grown Point, as neces- 
sary for the security of their frontier. After much debate, it 
was agreed that General Webb should march to the relief of Os- 
wego. He left Albany on tiie 12th of August, but had scarce 
reached the carrying^place, between the Mohawk River and Wood 
Creek, when he received news that Oswego was reduced, and its 
garrison captured. While the British conmianders had debated, 
Field-marshal the Marquis De Montcalm,' newly arrived from 
Erance, had acted. He was a different kind of soldier from 
Abercrombie or Loudoun. A capacious mind and enterprising 
spirit animated a small, but active and untiring frame. Quick in 
thought, quick in speech, quicker still in action, he comprehended 
every thing at a glance, and moved from point to point of the 
province with a celerity and secrecy that completely baffled his 
slow and pondering antagonists. Crown Point and Ticonderoga 
were visited, and steps taken to strengthen their works, and pro- 
vide for their security ; then hastening to Montreal, he put him- 
self at the head of a force of regulars, Canadians, and Indians; 
ascended the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario; blocked up the 


mouth of the Oswego by his vessels, landed his guns, and be- 
sieged the two forts ; drove the garrisoii out of one into the 
other ; killed the commander, Colonel Mercer, and compelled the 
garrisons to surrender prisoners of war. With the forts was 
taken an immense amount of military stores, ammunition, and 
provisions ; one hundred and twenty-one cannon, fourteen mor- 
tars, six vessels of war, a vast number of batteatix, and three 
chests of money. His blow achieved, Montcalm returned in tri- 
umph to Montreal, and sent the colors of the captured forts to be 
hung up as trophies in the Canadian churches. 

The season was now too far advanced for Lord Loudoun to 
enter upon any great military enterprise ; he postponed, there- 
fore, the great northern campaign, so much talked of and de- 
bated, until the following year ; and having taken measures for 
the protection of his frontiers, and for more active operations in 
the spring, returned to New York, hung up his sword, and went 
mto comfortable winter-quarters. 



C1RCDM6TANCE8 bad led Washington to think that Lord Loudoun 
" had received impressions to his prejudice bj false representations 
of facts," and that a wrong idea prevailed at head-quarters re- 
specting the state of military affairs in Virginia. He was anx- 
ious, therefore, for an opportunity of placing all these matters in 
a proper light ; and, understanding that there was to be a meet- 
ing in Philadelphia in the month of March, between Lord Lou- 
doun and the southern governors, to consult about measures of 
defence for their respective provinces, he wrote to Governor Din- 
widdie for permission to attend it. 

" I cannot conceive," writes Dinwiddle in reply, " what ser- 
vice you can be of in going there, as the plan concerted wOl, in 
course, be communicated to you and the other officers. However, 
as you seem so earnest to go, I now give you leave." 

This ungracious reply seemed to warrant the suspicions enter- 
tained by some of Washington's friends, that it was the busy pen 


of Groyernor Dinwiddle whicli had giyen the " false representation 
of facts/' to Lord Londonn. About a month, therefore, before 
the time of the meeting, Washington addressed a long letter to 
his lordship, explanatory of military a&irs in the quarter where 
he had commanded. In this he set forth the yarious defects in 
the militia laws of Virginia ; the errors in it49 system of defencOi 
and the inevitable confosion which had thence resalted. 

Adverting to his own conduct : " The orders I receive," said 
he, " are full of ambiguity. I am left like a wanderer in the 
wilderness to proceed at hazard. I am answerable for conse- 
(penoes, and blamed, without the privilege of defence. • • • • • 
It is not to be wondered at, if, under such peculiar circumstances, 
I should be sick of a service which promises so little of a soldier's 

" I have long been satisfied of the impossibility of continuing 
in ikia service, without loss of honor. Indeed, I was fully con- 
vinced of it before I accepted the command Ihe second time, see- 
ing the cloudy prospect before me ; and I did, for this reason, re- 
ject the offer, until I was ashamed any longer to refuse, not 
caring to expose my character to public censure. The solicitations 
of the country overcame my objections, and induced me to accept 
it Another reason has of late operated to continue me in the 
service until now, and that is, Ihe dawn of hope that arose, when 
I heard your lordship was destined, by his majesty, for the im- 
portant command of his armies in America, and appointed to the 
government of his dominion of Virginia. Hence it was, that I 
drew my hopes, and fondly pronounced your lordship our patron. 
Although I have not the honor to be known to your lordship, yet 
your name was familiar to my ear, on account of the important 
services rendered to his majesty in other parts of the world." 


The maimer in which Washington was reoeiyed by Lord 
Loudoun on arriving in Philadelphia, showed him at once, that 
his long, explanatory letter had produced the desired efifect, and 
that his character and conduct were justly appreciated. During 
his sojourn in Philadelphia he was frequently consulted on points 
of frontier service, and his advice was generally adopted. On 
one point it failed. He advised that an attack should be made on 
Fort Duquesne, simultaneous with the attempts on Canada. At 
such time a great part of the garrison would be drawn away to 
aid in the defence of that province, and a blow might be struck 
more likely to insure the peace and safety of the southern fron- 
tier, than all its forts and defences. 

Lord Loudoun, however, was not to be convinced, or at least 
persuaded. According to his plan, the middle and southern 
provinces were to maintain a merely defensive warfare ; and as 
Virginia would be required to send four hundred of her l^roops to 
the aid of South Carolina, she would, in feu^t, be left weaker than 

Washington was also disappointed a second time, in the hope 
of having his regiment placed on the same footing as the regular 
army, and of obtaining a king's commission ; the latter he was 
destined never to hold. 

His representations with respect to Fort Cumberland had the 
desired effect in counteracting the mischievous intermeddling of 
Dinwiddie. The Virginia troops and stores were ordered to be 
again removed to Fort Loudoun, at Winchester, which once more 
became head-quarters, while Fort Cumberland was left to be occu- 
pied by a Maryland garrison. Washington was instructed, like- 
wise, to oorreq)ond and co-operate, in military afiJEurs, with Colo- 
nel Stanwiz, who was stationed on the Pennsylvania firontieri with 



five huiidred men from the Bojal American regiment, and to wbom 
be would be, in some measure, subordinate. Tbis proved a cor- 
respondence of friendsbip, as well as duty ; Colonel Stanwix being 
a gentleman of bigb moral worth, as well as great ability in mili- 
tary afiBEiirs. 

The great plan of operations at tbe north was again doomed 
to failure. The reduction of Grown Point, on Lake Obamplain, 
which had long been meditated, was laid aside, and the capture of 
Louisburg substituted, as an acquisition of fur greater impor- 
tance. This was a place of great consequence, situated on the 
isle of Gape Breton, and strongly fortified. It commanded the 
fisheries of Newfoundland, overawed New England, and was a 
main bulwark to Acadia. 

In the course of July, Lord Loudoun set sail for Halifax 
with all the troops he could collect, amounting to about six thou- 
sand men, to join with Admiral Holboume, who had just arrived 
at that port with eleven ships of the line, a firenship, bomb-ketch, 
and fleet of transports, having on board six thousand men. With 
this united force Lord Loudoun anticipated the certiun capture of 

Scarce had the tidings of his lordship^s departure reached 
Ganada, when the active Montcalm again took the field, to foUow 
up the successes of Uic preceding year. Fort William Henry, 
which Sir Wm Johnson had erected on the southern shore of 
Lake George, was now his object ; it oommanded the lake, and 
was an important protection to the British frcmtier. A brave old 
officer, Golonel Monro, with about five hundred men, formed the 
garrison ; more than three times that number of militia were in* 
trenched near by. M(mtcalm had, early in the season, made three 
ineffectual attempts upon the fort; he now trusted to be more sue- 


oessfoL Golleoting his forces from Grown Point, Ticonderoga, 
and the adjacent posts, with a considerable number of Canadians 
and Indians, altogether nearly eight thousand men, he advanced 
up the lake, on the Ist of August, in a fleet of boats, with swarms 
of Indian canoes in the advance. The fort came near being sur* 
prised ; but the troops encamped without it, abandoned their tents 
and hurried within the works. A summons to surrender was 
answered by a brave defiance. Montcalm invested the fort, made 
his approaches, and battered it with his artillery. For five days 
its veteran commander kept up a vigorous defence, trusting to re- 
ceive assistance from General Webb, who had failed to relieve 
Fort Oswego in the preceding year, and who was now at Fort 
Edward, about fifteen miles distant, with upwards of five thou- 
sand men. Instead of this, Webb, who overrated the French 
forces, sent him a letter, advising him to capitulate. The letter 
was intercei^ted by Montcalm, but still forwarded to Monro. The 
obstinate old soldier, however, persisted in his defence, until most 
of his cannon were burst, and his ammunition expended. At 
length, in the month of August, he hung out a flag of truce, and 
obtained honorable terms from an enemy who knew how to appre- 
ciate his valor. Montcalm demolished the fort, carried off all the 
artillery and munitions of war, with vessels employed in the navi- 
gation of the lake ; and having thus completed his destruction of 
the British defences on this frontier, returned once more in tri- 
umph with the spoils of victory, to hang up fresh trophies in the 
diurohes of Ganada. 

Lord Loudoun, in the mean time, formed his junction with 
Admiral Holbourne at Halifax, and the troops were embarked with 
all diligence on board of the transports. Unfortunately, the 
French were again too quick for them. Admiral de Bois de la 


Hothe had arrived at Lonisburg, witii a large naval and land 
force ; it was ascertained that he had seventeen ships of the line, 
and three frigates, quietly moored in the harbor ; that the place 
was well fortified and supplied with provisions and ammunition, 
and garrisoned with six thousand regular troops, three thousand 
natives, and thirteen hundred Indians. 

Some hot-heads would have urged an attempt against all such 
array of force, but Lord Loudoun was aware of the probability 
of defeat, and the disgrace and ruin that it would bring upon 
British arms in America. He wisely, though in^oriously, re- 
turned to New York. Admiral Holboume made a silly demon- 
stration of his fleet off the harbor of Louisburg, approaching 
within two miles of the batteries, but retired on seeing the French 
admiral preparing to unmoor. He afterwards returned with a 
reinforcement of four ships of the line; cruised before Louisbuig, 
endeavoring to draw the enemy to an engagement, whidi De la 
Mothe had the wisdom to decline ; was overtaken by a hurricane, 
in which one of his ships was lost, eleven were dismasted, others 
had to throw their guns overboard, and all returned in a shattered 
condition to England. Thus ended the northern campaign by 
land and sea, a subject of great mortification to the nation, and 
ridicule and triumph to the enemy. 

]>uring these unfortunate operations to the north, Washington 
was stationed at Wmchester, shorn of part of his force by the 
detachment to South Carolina, and left with seven hundred men 
to defend a frontier of more than three hundred and fifty miles in 
extent. The capture and demolition of Oswego by Montcalm 
had produced a disastrous effect. The whole country of the five 
nations was abandoned to the French. The frontiers of Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, and Virginia were harassed by repeated inroads 


of French and Indians, and Washington had the mortification to 
see the noble vallej of the Shenandoah almost deserted by its in- 
habitants, and fast relapsing into a wilderness. 

The year wore away on his part in the harassing service of 
defending a wide frontier with an insufficient and badly organized 
force, and the vexations he experienced were heightened by con- 
tinual misunderstandings with Governor Dinwiddle. From the 
ungracious tenor of several of that gentleman's letters, and from 
private information, he was led to believe that some secret enemy 
had been making false representations of his motives and con- 
duct, and prejudicing the governor against him. He vindicated 
himself warmly from the alleged aspersions, proudly appealing to 
the whole course of his public career in proof of their falsity. 
'< It is uncertain," said he, <' in what light my services may have 
appeared to your honor; but this I know, and it is the highest 
consolation I am capable of feeling, that no man that ever was 
employed in a public capacity has endeavored to discharge the 
trust reposed in him with greater honesty and more zeal for the 
country's interest than I have done ; and if there is any person 
living who can say^ with justice, that I have ofifered any inten* 
tional wrong to the public, I wiU cheerfully submit to the most 
ignominious punishment that an injured people ought to inflict. 
On the other hand, it is hard to have my character arraigned, 
and my actions condemned, without a hearing." 

His magnanimous appeal had but little effect Dinwiddle was 
evidently actuated by the petty pique of a narrow and illiberal 
mind, impatient of contradiction, even when in error. He took 
advantage of his official station to vent his spleen and gratify his 
petulance in a variety of ways incompatible with the courtesy of 
a gentleman. It may excite a grave smile at the present day to 


find Wasbington charged by this yerj small-minded man with 
looseness in his way of writing to him ; with remissness in his duty 
towards him ; and even with impertinence in the able and eloqnent 
representations which he felt compelled to make of disastrous mis- 
management in military affairs ; and still more, to find his rea- 
sonable request, after a long oonrse of severe duty, for a tempora- 
ry leave of absence to attend to his private concerns peremptorily 
refused, and that with as little courtesy as though he were a mere 
subaltern seeking to absent himself on a party of pleasure. 

The multiplied vexations which Washington had latterly ex- 
perienced from this man, had preyed upon his spirits, and con- 
tributed, with his incessant toils and anxieties, to undermine his 
health. For some time he struggled with repeated attacks of 
dysentery and fever, and continued in the exercise of his duties ; 
but the increased violence of his malady, and the urgent advice 
ot his finend Dr. Craik, the army surgeon, induced him to 
relinquish his post towards the end of the year and retire to 
Mount Yernon. 

The administration of Dinwiddie, however, was now at an 
end. He set sail for England in January, 1758, very little re- 
gretted, exceptmg by his immediate hangers-on, and leaving a 
oharacter overshadowed by ihe imputation of avarice and extor- 
tion in the exaction of illegal fees, and of downright delinquency 
in regard to large sums transmitted to him by government to be 
paid over to the province in indemnification of its extra expenses ; 
for the disposition of which sums he failed to render an account. 

He w^ evidently a sordid, narrow-minded, and somewhat ar- 
rogant man ; bustling rather than active ; prone to meddle with 
matters of which he was profoundly ignorant, and absurdly un- 
willing to have his ignoranoe enlightened. 






For Beveral montiis Washington was afflicted bj retorns of bis 
malady, accompanied by symptoms indicative, as he thought, of 
a decline. '* My constitution," writes he to his friend Colonel 
Stanwix, <* is much impaired, and nothing can retrieve it but the 
greatest care and the most circumspect course of life. This being 
the case, as I have now no prospect left of preferment in the mili- 
tary way, and despair of rendering that immediate service which 
my country may require from the person commanding its troops, 
I have thoughts of quitting my command and retiring from all 
public business, leaving my post to be filled by some other person 
more capable of the task, and who may, perhaps, have his endea- 
vors crowned with better success than mine have been.'* 

A gradual improvement in his health, and a change in his 
prospects, encouraged him to continue in what really was his 
favorite career, and at the beginning of April he was again in 


oommand at Fort Loudoun. Mr. Francis Fauquier had been 
appointed successor to Dinwiddie, and, until be sbould arrive, 
Mr. John Blair, president of tbe council, bad, from bis office, 
charge of tbe goyemment. In the latter Washington bad a friend 
who appreciated bis character and services, and was disposed to 
carry out bis plans. 

Tbe general aspect of affairs, also, was more animating. Un- 
der tbe able and intrepid administration of William Pitt, who 
bad control of the British cabinet, an effort was made to retrieve 
tbe disgraces of tbe late American campaign, and to carry on tbe 
war with greater vigor. Tbe instructions for a common fund 
were discontinued ; there was no more talk of taxation by Parlia- 
ment Lord Loudoun, from whom so much bad been anticipated, 
bad disi^pointed by bis inactivity, and been relieved from a com- 
mand in which be had attempted much and done so little. His 
friends allied that his inactivity was owing to a want of unanimi- 
ty and co-operation in the colonial governments, which paralyzed 
all his well meant efforts. Franklin, it is probable, probed tbe 
matter with bis usual sagacity when be characterized him as a 
man '* entirely made up of indecision.'' — ^^ Like St Gteorge on the 
signs, be was always on horseback, but never rode on." 

On the return of bis lordship to England, tbe general com- 
mand in America devolved on Major-general Abercrombie, and 
tbe forces were divided into three detached bodies ; one, under 
Major-general Amherst, was to operate in tbe north with the fleet 
under Boscawen, for the reduction of Louisburg and the island of 
Cape Breton ; another, imder Abercrombie himself, was to pro* 
ceed against Tioonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain ; 
and tbe third, under Brigadier-general Forbes, who bad the 
charge of the middle and southern colonies, was to undertake the 

YOL. L— 11 


reduction of Fort Duquesne. The colonial troops were to be sup* 
plied, like the r^olars, with arms, ammunition, tents, and pro> 
visions, at the expense of goyemment, bat clothed and paid by 
the colonies ; for which the king would recommend to Parliament 
a proper compensation. The provincial officers appointed by the 
governors, and of no higher rank than colonel, were to be equal 
in command, when united in service wit^ those who held direct 
from the king, according to the date of their commissions. By 
these wise provisions of Mr. Pitt a fertile cause of heartburnings 
and dissensions was removed* 

It was with the greatest satisfaction Washington saw his fb 
vorite measure at last adopted, the reduction of Fort Duquesne, 
and he resolved to continue in the service until that object was 
accomplished* In a letter to Stanwiz, who was now a brigadier 
general, he modestly requested to be mentioned in fnvorable terms 
to (General Forbes, " not," said he, <* as a person who would de- 
pend upon him for further recommendation to military prefer- 
ment (for I have long conquered all such inclinations, and shaU 
serve this campaign merely for the purpose of affording my best 
endeavors to bring matters to a conclusion), but as a person who 
would gladly be distinguished in some measure from the common 
run of provincial officers, as I understand there will be a motley 
herd of us." He had the satisfaction subsequently of enjoying 
the fullest confidence of General Forbes, who knew too well the 
sound judgment and practical ability evinced by him in the un- 
fortunate campaign of Braddock not to be desirous of availing 
himself of his oounsek. 

Washington still was commander-in-chief of the Virginia 
troops, now augmented, by an act of the Assembly, to two regi- 
piente of one thousand men each ; one led b^ himself, the other 

1758.] LETTER TO HALEET. 243 

by Colonel Bjrd ; the whole destined to make a part of the army 
of General Forbes in the expedition against Fort Duquesne. 

Of the animation which he felt at the prospect of serving in 
this long-desired campaign, and revisiting with an effective force 
the scene of past disasters, wo have a proof in a short letter, 
written daring the excitement of the moment, to Major Francis 
Halket, his former companion in arms. 

'* My dear Halket : — ^Are we to have you once more among 
OS ? And shall we revisit together a hapless spot, that proved so 
fatal to many of oar former brave companions ? Yes ; and I re- 
joice at it, hoping it will now be in our power to testify a just 
abhorrence of the cruel butcheries exercised on our friends in 
the unfortunate day of (General Braddock's defeat; and, more- 
over, to show our enemies, that we can practise all that lenity of 
which they only boast, without affording any adequate proof." 

Before we proceed, to narrate the expedition against Fort Du- 
quesne, however, we will briefly notice the conduct of the two 
other expeditions, which formed important parts in the plan of 
military operations for the year. And first, of that against Lou- 
isburg and the Island of Oape Breton. 

Major-general Amherst, who conducted this expedition, em- 
barked with between ten and twelve thousand men, in the fleet of 
Admiral Boscawen, and set sail about the end of May, from Hali- 
&x, in Nova Scotia. Along with him went Brigadier-general 
James Wolfe, an officer yoang in years, but a veteran in military 
experience, and destined to gain an almost romantic celebrity. 
He may almost be said to have been bom in the camp, for he was 
the son of Major-general Wolfe, a veteran officer of merit, and 
when a lad had witnessed the battles of Dettingen and Fontenoy. 
While a mere youth he bad distinguished himself at the battle of 


Laffeldt, in the Netherlands; and now, after haying been eighteen 
years in the servioe, he was but thirty-one years of age. In 
America, however, he was to win his lasting laurels. 

On the 2d of June, the fleet arrived at the Bay of Gabarus, 
about seven miles to the west of Louisburg. The latter plaoe 
was garrisoned by two thousand five hundred regulars, and three 
hundred militia, and subsequently reinforced by upwards of four 
hundred Canadians and Indians. In the harbor were six ships- 
of-the-line, and five frigates ; three of which were sunk across the 
mouth. For several days the troops were prevented from landing, 
by boisterous weather, and a heavy surf. The French improved 
that time to strengthen a chain of forts along the shore, deepen- 
ing trenches, and constructing batteries. 

On the 8th of June, preparations for landing were made be- 
fore daybreak. The troops were embarked in boats in three divi- 
sions, under Brigadiers Wolfe, Whetmore, and Laurens. The 
landing was to be attempted west of the harbor, at a plaoe feebly 
secured. Several frigates and sloops previously scoured the beach 
with their shot, after which Wolfe pulled for shore with his divi- 
sions ; the other two divisions distracting the attention of the 
enemy, by making a show of landing in other parts. The surf 
still ran high, the enemy opened a fire of cannon and musketry 
from their batteries, many boats were upset, many men slain, but 
Wolfe pushed forward, sprang into the water when the boats 
grounded, dashed through the surf with his men, stormed the 
enemy's breastworks and batteries, and drove them from the shore. 
Among the subalterns who stood by Wolfe on this ocdksion, was 
an Irish youth, twenty-one years of age, named Eichard Mont- 
gomery, whom, for his gallantry, Wolfe promoted to a lieutenancy, 
and who was destined, in after years, to gain an imperishable re- 

1758.] OAPTURB OF LOUI8BT7BG. 245 

nown. The other divisions effected a landing after a severe con 
fliot ; artillery and stores were brought on shore, and Looisborg 
was formally invested. 

The weather continued boisterous ; the heavy cannon, and the 
various munitions necessary for a siege, were landed with difficulty. 
Amherst, moreover, was a cautious man, and made his approaches 
slowly, securing his camp by redoubts and epaulements. The 
Ohevalier Drucour, who commanded at Louisburg, called in his 
outposts, and prepared for a desperate defence; keeping up a 
heavy fire from his batteries, and from the ships in tiie harbor. 

Wolfe, with a strong detachment, surprised at night, and took 
possession of Light House Point, on the north-eui^ side of the 
entrance to the harbor. Here he threw up batteries in addition 
to those already there, from which he was enabled greatly to annoy 
both town and shipping, as well as to aid Amherst in his slow, 
but regular and sure approaches. 

On the 21st of July, the three largest of the enemy^s ships 
were set on fire by a bombshell. On the night of the 25th two 
other of the ships were boarded, sword in hand, from boats of the 
squadron; one being aground, was burnt, the other was towed 
out of the harbor in triumph. The brave Drucour kept up the 
defence until all the ships were either taken or destroyed; forty, 
out of fifty-two pieces of cannon dismounted, and his works mere 
heaps of ruins. When driven to capitulate, he refused the terms 
proposed, as being too severe, and, when threatened with a gen- 
eral assault, by sea and land, determined to abide it, rather than 
submit to what he considered a humiliation. The prayers and 
petitions of the inhabitants, however, overcame his obstinacy. 
The place was surrendered, and he and his garrison became prison- 
ers of war. Captain Amherst, ' brother to the general, carried 


home the news to England, with eleven pair of colors, taken at 
Lonisbnrg. There were rejoicings throughout the kingdom. 
The colors were borne in triumph through the streets of London, 
with a parade of horse and foot, kettle drums and trumpets, 
and the thunder of artillery, and were put up as trophies in St 
Paul's Cathedral. 

Boscawen, ^o was a member of Parliament, receiyed a 
unanimous vote of praise from the House of Commons, and the 
youthful Wolfe, who returned shortly after the victory to Eng- 
land, was hailed as the hero of the enterprise. 

We have disposed of one of the three great expeditions c(m- 
templated in^he plan of the year's campaign. The second was 
that against the French forts on Lakes George and Champlain. 
At the beginning of July, Abercrombie was encamped on the 
borders of Lake Qeorge, with between six and seven thousand 
regulars, and upwards of nine thousand provincials, from New 
England, New York, and New Jersey. Major Israel Putnam, of 
Connecticut, who had served on this lake, under Sir William 
Johnson, in the campaign in which Dieskau was defeated and 
slain, had been detached with a scouting party to reconnoitre the 
neighborhood. After his return and report, Abercrombie pre- 
' pared to proceed against Ticonderoga, situated on a tongue of 
land in Lake Champlain, at the mouth of the strait communica- 
ting with Lake George. 

On the 5th of July, the forces were embarked in one hundred 
and twenty-five whale-boats, and nine hundred batteauz, with the 
artillery on rafts. The vast flotilla proceeded slowly down the 
lake, with banners and pennons fluttering in the summer breeze ; 
arms glittering in the sunshine, and martial music echoing along 
the wood-clad mountains. With Abercrombie went Lord Howe, 

1758.] DEATH OF LORD HOWE. 247 

a young nobleman braye and enterprising, fall of martial enthu- 
siasm, and' endeared to the soldiery by the generosity of his dis- 
position, and the sweetness of his manners. 

On the first ni^t they biyouacked for some hours at Sabbath- 
day Point, but re-embarked before midnight. The next day 
they landed on a point on the western shore, just at the entrance 
of the strait leading to Lake Champlain. Here they were formed 
into three colnmns, and pushed forward. 

They soon came upon the enemy's adyanced guard, a battalion 
encamped behind a log breastwork. The French set fire to their 
camp, and retreated. The columns kept their form, and pressed 
forward, but, through ignorance of their guides, became bewil- 
dered in a dense forest, fell into confurion, and blundered upon 
each other. 

Lord Howe urged on with the yan of the right centre column. 
Putnam, who was with him, and more experienced in forest war- 
fare, endeayored in yain to inspire him with caution. After a 
time they came upon a detaohm^Dit of the retreating foe, who, 
like tiiemselyes, had lost their way. A seyere conflict ensued. 
Lord Howe, who gallantly led the yan, was killed at the onset 
His fall gaye new ardor to his troops. The ^emy were routed, 
some slain, some drowned, about one hundred and fifty taken 
prisoners, including fiye officers. Nothing further was done that 
day. The death of Lord Howe more than counterbalanced the 
defeat of the enemy. His loss was bewailed not merely by the 
army, but by the American people ; for it is singular how much 
this young nobleman, in a short time, had made himself beloyed. 
The point near which the troops had landed still bears his name; 
the place where he fell is still pointed out; and Massachusetts 
yoted him a monument in Westminster Abbey. 


With Lord Howe expired the master spirit of the enterprise. 
Abercrombie fell back to the landing-plaoe. The next day he 
sent out a strong detachment of r^olars, royal proyincials, and 
batteaux men, under Lientenant-colonel Bradstreet, of New 
York, to secure a saw-mill, which the enemy had abandoned. 
This done, he followed on the same eyening with the main forces, 
and took post at the mill, within two miles of the fort. Here 
he was joined by Sir William Johnson, with between four and 
five hundred savage warriors from the Mohawk River. 

Montcalm had called in all his forces, between three and four 
thousand men, and was strongly posted behind deep intrenoh- 
ments and breastworks eight feet high ; with an abatis, or felled 
trees, in front of his lines, presenting a horrid barrier, with their 
jagged boughs pointing outward. Abercrombie was deceived as 
to the strength of the French works ; his engineers persuaded him 
they were formidable only in appearance, but really weak and 
flimsy. Without waiting for the arrival of his cannon, and 
against the opinion of his most judicious officers, he gave orders 
to storm the works. Never were rash orders more gallailtly 
obeyed. The men rushed forward with fixed bayonets, and at- 
tempted to force their way through, or scramble over the abatis, 
under a sheeted fire of swivels and musketry. In the desperation 
of the moment, the officers even tried to cut their way through 
with their swords. Some even reached the parapet, where they 
were shot down. The breastwork was too high to be surmounted, 
and gave a secure covert to the enemy. Repeated assaults were 
made, and as often repelled, with dreadful havoc. The Iroquois 
warriors, who had arrived with Sir William Johnson, took no 
part, it is said, in this fierce conflict, but stood aloof as uncon- 
cerned spectators of the bloody strife of white men. 


After foar hours of desperate and fimitless fighdng, Aber* 
crombie, who had all the time remained aloof at the saw-mills, 
gave up the ill-judged attempt, and withdrew once more to the 
landing-place, with the loss of nearly two thousand in killed and 
wounded. Had not the vastly inferior force of Montcalm pre- 
Tented him from sallying beyond his trenches, the retreat of the 
British might have been pushed to a headlong and disastrous 

Abercrombie had still nearly four times the number of the 
en^ny, with cannon, and all the means of carrying on a siege, 
with every prospect of success ; but the failure of this rash as- 
sault seems completely to have dismayed him. The next day he 
re-embarked all his troops, and returned across that lake whe^ 
his disgraced banners had recently waved so proudly. 

While the general was planning fortifications on Lake Qeorge, 
Colonel Bradstreet obtained permission to carry into effect an 
expedition which he had for some time meditated, and which had 
be^i a favored project with the lamented Howe. This was to re- 
duce Fort Frontenac, the stronghold of the French on the north 
side of the entrance of Lake Ontario, commanding the mouth of 
the St. Lawrence. This post was a central point of Indian trade, 
where the tribes resorted from all parts of a vast interior ; some- 
times a distance of a thousand miles, to traffic away their peltries 
with the fur-traders. It was, moreover, a magazine for the more 
southern posts, among which was Fort Duquesne on the Ohio. 

Bradstreet was an officer of spirit Pushing his way along 
the valley of the Mohawk and by the Oneida, where he was 
jomed by several warriors of the Six Nations, he arrived at Os- 
w^ in August, with nearly three thousand men; the greater 
part of them provincial troops of New York and Massachusetts. 

Vol. I.— 11* 


Embarking at Oswego in open boats, he crossed Lake Ontario, 
and landed within a mile of Frontenao. The fort mounted sixty 
guns, and several mortars, yet though a place of saoh importance, 
the garrison consisted of merely one hundred and ten men, and a 
few Indiana These either fled, or surrendered at discretion. 
In the fort was an immense amount of merchandise and military 
stores ; part of the latter intended for the supply of Fort Du- 
quesne. In the harbor were nine armed vessels, some of them 
carrying eighteen guns; the whole of the enemy^s shipping on the 
lake. Two of these Colonel Bradstreet freighted with part of 
the spoils of the fort, the others he destroyed ; then having dis- 
mantled the fortifications, and laid waste every thing which he 
yuld not carry away, he recrossed the lake to Oswego, and re- 
turned with his troops to the army on Lake George. 



Operations went on slowly in that part of the year's campaign 
in which Washington was immediately engaged — ^ihe expedition 
against Fort Doqnesne. Brigadier-general Forbes, who was 
commander-in-chief, was detained at Philadelphia by those delays 
and cross-poiposes incident to military affiurs in a new comitry. 
Colonel Bonqnet, who was to command the advanced division, 
took his station, with a corps of regulars, at Eaystown, in the 
centre of Pennsylvania. There slowly assembled troops from vari- 
ous parts. Three thousand Pennsylvanians, twelve hundred and 
fifty South Carolinians, and a few hundred men from elsewhere. 

Washington, in the mean time, gathered together his scattered 
rc^ment at Winchester, some from a distance of two hundred 
miles, and diligently disciplined his recruits. He had two Vir- 


ginia regiments under him, amounting, when complete, to about 
nineteen hundred men. Seven hundred Indian warriors, also, 
came lagging into his camp, lured by the prospect of a successful 

The president of the council had giyen Washington a discre* 
tionary power in the present juncture to order out militia for the 
purpose of garrisoning the fort in the absence of the regular 
troops. Washington exercised the power with extreme reluc- 
tance. He considered it, he said, an a&ir of too important and 
delicate a nature for him to manage, and apprehended the discon- 
tent it might occasion. In fact, his sympathies were always with 
the husbandmen and ^c laborers of the soil, and he deplored the 
evils imposed upon them by arbitrary drafts for military service ; 
a scruple not often indulged by youthful commanders. 

The force thus assembling was in want of arms, tents, field- 
eqifipage, and almost every requisite. Washington had made 
repeated representations, by letter, of the destitute state of the 
Virginia troops, but without avail ; he was now ordered by Sir 
John St. Olair, the quartermaster-general of the forces, under 
General Forbes, to repair to Williamsburg, and lay the state of 
the case before the council. He set off promptly on horseback, 
attended by Bishop, the well-trained military servant, who had 
served the late Oeneral Braddock. It proved an eventful jour- 
ney, though not in a military point of view. In crossing a ferry 
of the Pamunkey, a branch of York Eiver, he fell in company 
with a Mr. Chamberlayne, who lived in the neighborhood, and 
who, in the spirit of Virginian hospitality^ claimed him as a 
guest It was with difficulty Washington could be prevailed on 
to halt for dinner, so impatient was he to arrive at Williamsburg, 
and accomplish his mission. 

1768.] MRS. MABTHA OUSTIB. 253 

Among the gaests at Mr. Cbamberlajne's was a ycmng and 
blooming widow, Mrs. Martha Costis, daughter of Mr. John 
Dandridge, bo^ patrician names in the proyince. Her husband, 
John Parke Oustis, had been dead about three years, leaving her 
with two young children, and a large fortune. She is represented 
as being rather below the middle size, but extremely well shaped, 
with an agreeable countenance, dark hazel eyes and hair, and 
those frank, engaging manners, so captirating in Southern women. 
We are not informed whether Washington had met with her be* 
fore ; probably not during her widowhood, as during that time he 
had been almost oontinually on the frontier. We have shown 
that, with all his gravity and reserve, he was quickly susceptible 
to female charms ; and they may have had a greater effect upon 
him when thus casually encoimtered in fleeting moments snatched 
from the cares and perplexities and rude scenes of frontier war- 
fare. At any rate, his heart appears to have been taken by sur- 

The dinner, which in those days was an earlier meal than at 
present, seemed all too short. The afternoon passed away like a 
dream. Bishop was punctual to the orders he had received on 
halting ; tibe horses pawed at the door; but for once Wa^ington 
loitered in the path of duty. The horses were countermanded, 
and it was not until the next morning that he was again in the 
saddle, spurring for Williamsburg. Happily the White House, 
the residence of Mrs. Custis, was in New Kent County, at no 
great distance from that city, so that he had opportunities of vis- 
iting her in the intervals of business. His time for courtship, 
however, was brief. Military duties called him back almost im- 
mediately to Winchester; but he feared, should he leave the 
matter in suspense, some more enterprising rival might supplant 

254 UFA OF WASHINOTON. [1^58* 

kim during his absence, as in the case of Miss Philipse, at New 
York. He improyed, therefore, his brief opportunity to the ut- 
most The blooming widow had many suitors, but Washington 
was graced with that renown so ennobling in the eyes of woman. 
In a word, before they separated, they had mntoally plighted their 
faith, and the marriage was to (ake place as soon as the campaign 
against Fort Dnquesne was at an end. 

Before returning to Winchester, Washington was obliged to 
hold conferences with Sir John St. Clair and Colonel Bouquet, 
at an intermediate rendcETOus, to giye them information re* 
specting the frontiers, and arrange about the marching of his 
troops. His constant word to them was forward! forward! 
For the precious time for action was slipping away, and he feared 
their Indian allies, so important to their security while on the 
march, might, with their usual fickleness, lose patience, and return 

On arriying at Winchester, he found his troops restless and 
discontented from prolonged inaction. The inhabitants impsr 
tient of the burdens imposed on them, and of the disturbances 
of an idle camp ; while the Indians, as he apprehended, had de- 
serted outri^t. It was a great relief, therefore, when he receiyed 
orders from the commander-in-chief to repair to Fort Cumber- 
land. He arriyed there on the 2d of July, and proceeded to 
open a road between that post and head-quarters, at Baystown, 
thirty miles distant, where Colonel Bouquet was stationed. 

• His troops were scantily supplied with regimental clothing. 
The weather was oj^ressiyely warm. He now conceiyed the 
idea of equij^ing them in the light Indian hunting garb, 
and eyen of adopting it himself. Two companies were accord- 
ingly equipped in this siyle, and sent under the command of Ma- 

176a] THS BIFLK DBESS. 255 

jor Lewis to head-quarters. '* It is an imbec<mung dress, I ow% 
for an officer,^' writes Washington, '^ bat oonvenienoe rather than 
show, I think, should be consulted. The reduction of bat-horses 
alone would be sufficient to recommend it ; for nothing is more 
certain than that less baggage would be required." 

The experiment was successfuL " The dress takes very well 
here," writes Colonel Bouquet ; <* and, thank <}od, we see nothing 
but shirts and blankets. • * • Their dress should be one 
pattern for this expedition." Such was probably the origm of 
the American rifle dress, afterwards so much worn in warfare, 
and modelled on the Indian costume. 

The army was now annoyed by scouting parties of Indians 
hovering about the neighborhood. Expresses passing between 
the posts were fired upon ; a waggoner was shot down. Wash- 
ington sent out counter-parties of Cherokees. Colonel Bouqtiet 
required that each party should be accompanied by an officer and 
a number of white men. Washington complied with the order, 
though he considered them an encumbrance rather than an ad- 
vantage. " Small parties of Indians," said he, " will more effec- 
tually harass the enemy by keeping them under continual alarms, 
than any parties of white men can do. For small parties of the 
latter are not equal to the task, not being so dexterous at skulk- 
ing as Indians; and large parties will be discovered by their 
spies early enough to have a superior force opposed to them." 
With all his efforts, however, he was never able folly to make 
the officers of the regular army appreciate the in^rtance of In- 
dian allies in these campaigns in the wilderness. 

On the other hand, he earnestly discountenanced a propo- 
sition of Colonel Bouquet, to make an irruption into tiie enemy's 
country with a strong party of regulars. Such a detachment, he 


obserred, could not be sent without a cumbersome train of sup- 
plies, wbidi would discover it to the enemy, who must at that 
lime be collecting his whole force at Fort Duquesne ; the entei- 
prise, therefore, would be likely to terminate in a miscarriage, if 
not in the destruction of the party. We shall see that his opinion 
was oracular. 

As WashiDgton intended to retire from military life at the 
dose of this campaign, he had proposed himself to the electors of 
Frederick Oounty as their representataye in the House of Bur* 
gesses. The election was coming on at Winchester ; his Mends 
pressed him to attend it, and Colonel Bouquet gave him leave of 
absence ; but he declined to absent himself from his post for the 
promotion of his political interests. There were three oompeti* 
tors in the field, yet so high was the public opinion of his merit, 
that, though Winchester had been his head-quarters for two or 
ihree years past, and he had occasionally enfcnroed martial law 
with a rigorous hand, he was elected by a large majority. 
The election was carried on somewhat in the English style. 
There was much eating and drinking at the expense of the candi* 
date. Washington appeared on the hustings by proxy, and his 
representative was chaired about the town with enthusiastic ap- 
plause and hunaing for Colonel Wadiington. 

On the 21st of July arrived tidings of the brilliant success of 
Hiat part of the scheme oi the year's campaign conducted by 
Oeneral Amherst and Admiral Boscawen, who had reduced the 
strong town of Louisburg and gained possession of the Island 
of Cape Breton. This intelligence increased Washington's impa- 
tience at the delays of the expedition wiUi which he was connect 
ed. He widied to rival these successes by a Inrilliant blow in the 
south. Perhaps a desire for personal distinction in the eyes of 


tiie lady of his choice may haye been at i^e bottom of this impa- 
tience ; for we are told that he kept up a constant correspondence 
mtih her thronghont the campaign. 

Understanding that the commander-in-chief had some thoughts 
of throwing a body of light troops in the adyance, he wrote to Colo- 
nel Bouquet, earnestly soliciting his influence to have himself and 
his Virginia regim^t included in the detachment. " If any argu- 
ment is needed to obtain this fiiyor," said he, '^ I hope, without 
yanity, I may be allowed to say, that from long intimacy with 
these woods, and frequent scouting in them, my men are at least 
as well acquainted with all the passes and difficulties as any 
troops that will be employed." 

He soon learnt to his surprise, howeyer, that the road to 
which his men were accustomed, and which had been worked by 
Braddock's troops in his campaign, was not to be taken in the 
present expedition, but a new one opened through the heart of 
Pennsylyania, from Raystown to Fort Duquesne, on the track 
generally taken by the northern traders. He instantly com- 
menced long and repeated remonstrances on the subject ; repre- 
senting that Braddock's road, from recent examination, only 
needed partial repairs, and showing by clear calculation that an 
army could reach Fort Duquesne by that route in thirty-four 
days, so that the whole campaign might be effected by the middle 
of October ; whereas the extreme labor of opening a new road 
across mountains, swamps, and through a densely wooded country, 
would detain them so late, that the season would be oyer before 
they could reach the scene of action. His representations were 
of no ayail. The officers of the regular sendee had receiyed a 
fearful idea of Braddock's road from his own despatches, wherein 
he had described it as lying '^ across mountains and rocks of an 


exoessiye height, yastlj steep, and divided by torrents and riyers," 
whereas the Pennsylvania traders, who were anxious for the open- 
ing of the new road through their province, described the country 
throu^ which it would pass as less difficult, and its streams less 
subject to inundation ; above all, it was a direct line, and fifty miles 
nearer. This route, therefore, to the great r^ret of Washington 
and the indignation of the Virginia Assembly, was definitively 
adopted, and sixteen hundred men were immediately thrown in 
the advance from Raystown to work upon it. 

The first of September found Washington still encamped at 
Fort Oumberland, his troops sickly and dispirited, and the bril- 
liant expedition which he had anticipated, dwindling down into a 
tedious operation of road-making. In the mean time, his scouts 
brought him word that the whole force at Fort Duquesne on the 
i3th of August, Indians included, did not exceed eight hundred 
men : had an early campugn been pressed forward, as he recom- 
mended, the place by this time would have been captured. At 
length, in the month of September, he received orders from Qen* 
eral Forbes to join him with his troops at Baystown, where he 
had just arrived, having been detained by severe illness. He was 
received by the general with the highest marks of respect. On 
all occasions, both in private and at councils of war, that com- 
mander treated his opinions with the greatest deference. He, 
moreover, adopted a plan drawn out by Washington for the march 
of the army ; and an order of battle which still exists, furnishing 
a proof of his skill in frontier warfare. 

It was now the middle of September ; yet the great body of 
men engaged in opening the new military road, after incredible 
toil, had not advanced above forty-five miles, to a place called 
Loyal Hannan, a little beyond Laurel Hill. Colonel Bouquet, 


wlio oommanded the division of nearly two thousand men sent 
forward to open this road, had halted at Loyal Hannan to establish 
a military post and deposit. 

He was upwards of fifty miles from Fort Duquesne, and 
was tempted to adopt the measure, so strongly discountenanced 
by Washington, of sending a party on a foray into the enemy's 
country. He accordingly detached Major Grant with eight hun- 
dred picked men, some of them Highlanders, others, in Indian 
garb, the part of Washington's Virginian regiment sent forward 
by him from Cumberland under command of Major Lewis. 

The instructions given to Major Grant were merely to recon- 
noitre ihe country in the neighborhood of Fort Buquesne, and 
ascertain the strength and position of the enemy. He conducted 
the enterprise with the foolhardiness of a man eager for personal 
notoriety. His whole object seems to have been by op^ bravado 
to provoke an action. The enemy were apprised, through their 
scouts, of his approach, but suffered him to advance unmolested. 
Arriving at night in the neighborhood of the fort, he posted his 
men on a hill, and sent out a party of observation, who set fire to 
a log house near the walls and returned to ihe encampment. As 
if this were not sufficient to put the enemy on the alert, he or- 
dered the reveille to be beaten in the morning in several places ; 
then, posting Major Lewis with his provincial troops at a distance 
in the rear to protect the baggage, he marshalled his r^ulars in 
battle array, and sent an engineer, with a covering party, to take 
a plan of the works in full view of the garrison. 

Not a gun was fired by the fort ; the silence which was main- 
tained was mistaken for fear, and increased the arrogance and 
blind security of the British commander. At length, when he 
was thrown off his guard, there was a sudden sally of the garri* 


floii) and an attadc on the flanks by Indians hid in ambush. A 
scene now ocoorred similar to that at ike defeat of BraddocL 
The British officers marshalled their men aocorduig to European 
tactics, and the EUghlanders for some time stood their ground 
bravely; but the destructive fire and horrid yells of the Indians 
soon produced panic and confusion. Major Lewis, at the first 
noise of the attack, left Oaptain Bullitt, with fifty Virginians, to 
guard the baggage, and hastened with the main part of his men 
to the scene of action. The contest was kept up for some time, 
^ but the confusion was irretrievable. The Indians sallied ^m 
their concealment, and attacked with the tomahawk and scalping- 
knife. Lewis fought hand to hand with an Indian brave, whom 
he laid dead at his feet, but was surrounded by others, and only 
saved his life by surrendering himself to a French officer. Major 
Orant surrendered himself in like manner. The whole detach- 
ment was put to the rout with dreadful carnage. 

Captain Bullitt rallied several of the fugitives, and prepared 
to make a forlorn stand, as the only chance where the enemy was 
overwhelming and merciless. Despatching the most valuable 
baggage with the strongest horses, he made a barricade with the 
baggage waggons, behind which he posted his men, giving them 
orders how they were to act. All this was the thought and the 
work almost of a moment, for the savages, having finished the 
havoc and plunder of the field of battle, were hastening in pursuit 
of the fugitives. Bullitt suffered them to come near, when, on a 
concerted signal, a destructive fire was opened from behind the bag- 
gage waggons. They were checked for a time ; but were again 
pressing forward in greater numbers, when Bullitt and his men 
held out the signal of capitulation, and advanced as if to surrender. 
When within ei^t yards of tly enemy, they suddenly levelled 


their arms, poured a most effective yolley, and then charged with 
the bayonet. The Indians fled in dismay, and Bullitt took ad- 
vantage of this check to retreat with all speed, collecting the 
wounded and the scattered fugitives as he advanced. The routed 
detachment came back in fragments to Colonel Bouquet's camp at 
Loyal Hannan, with the loss of twenty-one officers and two hun- 
dred and seventy-three privates killed and taken. The Highland- 
ers and the Virginians were those that fought the best and suf- 
fered the most in this bloody battle. Washington's regimwdt lost 
six officers and sixty-two privates. 

If Washington could have taken any pride in seeing his pre- 
sages of misfortune verified, he might have been gratified by the 
result of this rash '' irruption into the enemy's country," which 
was exactly what he had predicted. In his letters to Gtovemor 
Fauquier, however, he bears lightly on the error of Col Bouquet 
<< From all accounts I can collect," says he, '^ it appears very clear 
that this was a very ill-concerted, or a very ill-executed plan, per- 
haps both ; but it seems to be generally acknowledged that Major 
Grant exceeded his orders, and that no disposition was made for 

Washington, who was at Baystown when the disastrous news 
arrived, was publicly complimented by General Forbes, on the 
gallant conduct of his Virginian troops, and Bullitt's behavior was 
<< a matter of great admiration." The latter was soon after re- 
warded with a major's commission. 

As a further mark of the high opinicm now entertained of 
provincial troops for frontier service, Washington was given the 
c(Mmnand of a division, partly composed of his own men, to keep 
in the advance of the main body, clear the roads, throw outsoont- 
ing parties, and repel Indian attacks. 


It was the 5th of November before the whole army assembled 
at Loyal Hannan. Winter was now at hand, and upwards of 
fifty miles of wilderness were yet to be traversed, by a road not 
yet formed, before they could reach Fort Daqnesne. Agam, 
Washington's predictions seemed likely to be verified, and the 
expedition to be defeated by delay ; for in a council of war it was 
determined to be impracticable to advance further with the army 
that season. Three prisoners, however, who were brought in, 
gave such an account of the weak state of the garrison at Fort 
Duquesne, its want of provisions, and the defection of the Indians, 
that it was determined to push forward. The march was ac- 
cordingly resumed, but without tents or baggage, and with only 
a light train of artillery. 

Washington still kept the advance. After leaving Loyal 
Hannan, the road presented traces of the late defeat of Grant ; 
being strewed with human bones, the sad relics of fugitives cut 
down by the Indians, or of wounded soldiers who had died on the 
retreat; they lay mouldering in various stages of decay, mingled 
with the bones of horses and of oxen. As they approached Fort 
Duquesne these mementoes of former disasters became more fre. 
quent ; and the bones of those massacred in the defeat of Brad- 
dock, still lay scattered about the battle field, whitening in the 

At length the army arrived in sight of Fort Duquesne, advan- 
cing with great precaution, and expecting a vigorous defence ; but 
that formidable fortress, the terror and scourge of the frontier, 
and the object of such warlike enterprise, fell without a blow. 
The recent successes of the English forces in Canada, particu- 
larly the capture and des^otion of Fort Frontenao,.had left 
the garrison without hope of roinlbrcemeQts and supplies. 


The whole force, at the time, did not exceed five hundred men, 
and the proyisions were nearly exhausted. The commander, 
therefore, waited only until the English army was within one 
day's march, when he embarked his troops at night in batteaux, 
blew up his magazines, set fire to the fort, and retreated down the 
Ohio, by the li^t of the flames. On the 25th of NoTember, 
Washington, with the adyanced guard, marched in, and planted 
the British flag on the yet smoking ruins. 

One of the first offices of the army was to collect and bury, 
in one common tomb, the bones of their fellow-soldiers who had 
fallen in the battles of Braddock and Grant. In this pious duty 
it is said every one joined, from the general down to the private 
soldier ; and some veterans assisted, with heavy hearts and fire- 
quent ejaculations of poignant feeling, who had been present in 
the scenes of defeat and carnage. 

The ruins of the fortress were now put in a defensible state, 
and garrisoned by two hundred men firom Washington's regiment; 
the name was changed to that of Fort Pitt, in honor of the illus- 
trious British minister, whose measures had given vigor and effect 
to this year's campaign ; it has since been modified into Pittsburg, 
and designates one of the most busy and populous cities of the 

The reduction of Fort Duquesne terminated, as Washington 
had foreseen, the troubles and dangers of the southern firontier. 
The French domination of the Ohio was at an end ; the Indians, 
as usual, paid homage to the conquering power, and a treaty of 
peace was concluded with all the tribes between the Ohio and the 

With this campaign ended, for the present, the military career 
of Waabiugtoo* His great object was attained, the restoration 


of quiet and securitj to his natiye proyinoe ; and, having aban- 
doned all hope of attaining rank in the regular army, and his 
health being much impaired, he gaye up his commission at the 
dose of the year, and retired from the service, followed by the 
applause of his fellow-soldiers, and the gratitude and admiration 
of all his countrymen. 

His marriage with Mrs. Custis took place shortly after hia 
return. It was celebrated cm the 6th of January, 1759, at the 
White House, the residence of the bride, in the good old hos- 
pitable style of Virginia, amid a joyous assemblage of relatives 
and friends. 





Bbfobb following Washingion into the retirement of domestic 
life, we think it proper to notioe the eyents which closed the 
great struggle between England and France for empire in Amer- 
ica. In that straggle he had first become practised in arms, and 
schooled in the ways of the world ; and its resolts will be found 
connected with the history of his later years. 

General Abercrombie had been superseded as commander-in^ 
chief of the forces in America by Major-general Amherst, who 
had gained gi^t fayor by the reduction of Louisburg. Accord- 
ing to the plan of operations for 1759, Qeneral Wolfe, who had 
risen to £une by his gallant conduct in the same affidr, was to 
ascend the St. Lawrence in a fleet of ships of war, with eight 
thousand men, as soon as the riyer should be free of ice, and lay 
siege to Quebec, the capital of Canada. General Amherst, in 
the mean time, was to adyance, as Abercrombie had done, by 
Iiake G«orge, against Ticonderoga and Crown Point; reduce 

Vol. L— 12 

266 LIFE OF WA8HIK0T0N. [VI69. 

those forts, cross Lake Ohamplain, pnsh on to the St. Lawrenoe, 
and co-operate with Wolfe. 

A third expedition, nnder Brigadier-general Prideaux, aided 
by Sir William Johnson and his Indian warriors, was to attack 
Fort Niagara, which controlled the whole country of the Six Na- 
tions, and commanded the navigation of the great lakes, and the 
intercourse between Canada and Louisiima. Haying reduced this 
fort, he was to traverse Lake Ontario, descend the St. Lawrence, 
capture Montreal, and join his forces with those of Amherst 

The last mentioned expedition was the first executed. Gen- 
eral Prideaux embarked at Oswego on the first of July, with a 
large body of troops, regulars and provincials, — the latter partly 
from New York. He was accompanied by Sir William Johnson, 
and his Indian braves of the Mohawk. Landing at an inlet of 
Lake Ontario, within a few miles of Fort Niagara, he advanced, 
without being opposed, and proceeded to invest it. The garrison, 
six hundred strong, made a resolute defence. The siege was car- 
ried on by regular approaches, but pressed with vigor. On the 
20th of July, Prideaux, in visiting his trenches, was killed by the 
bursting of a cohom. Informed by express of this misfortune, 
General Amherst detached from the main army Brigadier-g^ieral 
Gkige, the officer who had led Braddock's advance, to take the 

In the mean time, the siege had been conducted by Sir Wil- 
liam Johnson with courage and sagacity. He was destitute of 
military science, but had a natural aptness for warfare, especially 
for the rough kind carried on in the wilderness. Being informed 
by his scouts that twelve hundred regular troops, drawn from 
Detroit, Yenango, and Presque Isle, and led by B'Aubry, with a 
number of Indian auxiliaries, were hastening to the rescue, he 


detftohed a force of grenadiers and light infantry, with some of 
his Mohawk warriors, to intercept them. They came in sight of 
each other on the road, between Niagara Falls and the fort, 
within the thundering sound of the one, and the distant view of 
the other. Johnson's << braves " advanced to have a parley with 
the hostile redskins. The latter received them with a war-whoop, 
and Frenchman and savage made an impetuous onset. Johnson's 
regulars and provincials stood their ground firmly, while his red 
wa^iors fell on the flanks of the enemy. After a sharp conflict, 
the French were broken, routed, and pursued through the woods, 
with great carnage. Among the prisoners taken were seventeen 
officers. The next day Sir William Johnson sent a trumpet, 
summoning the garrison to surrender, to spare the efiusion of 
blood, and prevent outrages by the Indians. They had no alter- 
native ; were permitted to march out with the honors of war, and 
were protected by Sir William from his Indian allies. Thus was 
secured the key to the communication between Lakes Ontario and 
Erie, and to the vast interior region connected with them. The 
blow alarmed the French for the safety of Montreal, and De 
Levi, the second in command of their Oanadian forces, hastened 
up from before Quebec, and took post at the fort of Oswegatchie 
(now Ogdensburg), to defend the passes of the St Lawrence. 

We now proceed to notice the expedition against Tioonderoga 
and Grown Point. In the month of July, General Amherst em- 
barked with nearly twelve thousand men, at the upper part of 
Lake George, and proceeded down it, as Aberorombie had done 
in the preceding year, in a vast fleet of whale-boats, batteaux, 
and rafts, and all the glitter and parade of war. On the 22d, 
the army debarked at the lower part of the lake, and advanced 

268 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [11fi». 

toward Tioonderoga. After a slight skirmish with the advanced 
guard, they secured the old post at the saw-mill. 

Montcalm was no longer in the fort ; he was absent for the 
protection of Quebec. The garrison did not exceed four hundred 
men. Bourlamarque, a brave officer, who commanded, at first 
seemed disposed to make defence ; but, against such overwhelm- 
ing force, it would have been madness. Dismantling the fortifica- 
tions, therefore, he abandoned them, as he did likewise those at 
Grown Point, and retreated down the lake, to assemble forces, 
and make a stand at the Isle Aux Noix, for the protection of 
Montreal and the province. 

Instead of following him up, and hastening to co-operate with 
Wolfe, General Amherst proceeded to repair the works at Tioon- 
deroga, and erect a new fort at Crown Point, though neither were 
in present danger of being attacked, nor would be of use if 
Canada were conquered. Amherst, however, was one of those 
cautious men, who, in seeking to be sure, are apt to be fatally 
slow. His delay enabled the enemy to rally their forces at Isle 
Aux Noix, and call in Canadian reinforcements, while it deprived 
Wolfe of that co-operation which, it will be shown, was most es- 
sential to the general success of ihe campaign. 

Wolfe, with his eight thousand men, ascended the St Law- 
rence in the fleet, in the month of June. With him came Brig- 
adiers, Monokton, Townshend and Murray, youthful and brave like 
himself, and like himself, already schooled in arms. Monokton, 
it will be recollected, had signalized himself, when a colonel, in 
the expedition in 1755, in which the French were driven firom 
Nova Scotia. The grenadiers of the army were commanded by 
Colonel Guy Carleton, and part of the light infentry by Lieu- 
tenant-colonel William Howe, both destined to celebrity in after 


years, in the annals of tlie American Revolution. Colonel Howe 
was brother of the gallant Lord Howe, whose fall in the preced- 
ing year was so generally lamented. Among the officers of the 
fleet, was Jervis, the fatare admiral, and ultimately Earl St. 
Yincent ; and the master of one of the ships, .was James Oook, 
afterwards renowned as a discoverer. 

About the end of June, the troops debarked on the large, 
populous, and well-cultivated Isle of Orleans, a little below 
Quebec, and encamped in its fertile fields. Quebec, the citadel 
of Canada, was strong by nature. It was built round the point 
of a rocky promontory, and flanked by precipices. The crystal 
current of the St. Lawrence swept by it on the right, and the 
river St Charles flowed along on the left, before mingling with 
that mighty stream. The place was tolerably fortified, but art 
had not yet rendered it, as at the present day, impregnable. 

Montcalm commanded the post. His troops were more 
numerous than the assailants ; but the greater part were Cana- 
dians, many of them inhabitants of Quebec ; and he had a host 
of savages. His forces were drawn out along the northern shore 
below the city, from the river St Charles to the Falls of Mont- 
morency, and their position was secured by deep intrenchments. 

The night after the debarkation of Wolfe's troops a furious 
storm caused great damage to the transports, and sank some of 
the small craft While it was still raging, a number of fire-ships, 
sent to destroy the fleet, came driving down. They were boarded 
intrepidly by the British seamen, and towed out of the way of 
doing harm. After much resistance. Wolf established batteries 
at the west point of the Isle of Orleans, and at Point Levi, on 
the right (or south) bank of the St Lawrence, within cannon 
range of thQ oity. Colonel Gtiy Carleton, comman4er at the 


former battery; Brigadier Monokton at the latter. From Point 
Levi bombshells and red-hot shot were disoharged ; many houses 
were set on fire in the upper town, the lower town was reduced to 
rubbish.; the main fort, however, remained unharmed. 

Anxious for a deoisive action, Wolfe, on the 9th of July, 
crossed over in boats from the Isle of Orleans, to the north bank 
of the St. Lawrence, and encamped below the Montmoren<^. It 
was an ill-judged position, for there was still that tumultuous 
stream, with its rocky banks, between him and the camp of Mont- 
calm ; but the ground he had chosen was higher than that occu- 
pied by the latter, and the Montmorency had a ford below the 
fsdls, passable at low tide. Another ford was discovered, three 
miles within land, -but the banks were steep, and shagged with 
forest. At both fords the vigilant Montcalm had thrown up 
breastworks, and posted troops. 

On the 18th of July, Wolfe made a reconnoitring expedition 
up the river, with two armed sloops, and two transports with 
troops. He passed Quebec unharmed, and carefully noted the 
shores above it. Rugged cliffisi rose almost from the water's edge. 
Above them, he was told, was an extent of level ground, called 
the Plains of Abraham, by which the upper town mi^t be ap- 
proached on its weakest side ; but how was that plain to be at- 
tained, when the dif&i, for the most part, were inaccessible, and 
every practicable place fortified ? 

He returned to Montmorency disappointed, and resolved to 
^ttack Montcalm in his camp, however difficult to be approadied, 
and however strongly posted. Townshend and Murray, with their 
{brigades, were to cross the Montmorency at low tide, below the 
falls, and storm the redoubt thrown up in front of the ford. 
j^onckton, at the same time, was to cross, with part of his brigade, 


m boats from Point Leri. The ship Centurion, stationed in the 
diannel, was to check the fire of a battery which commanded the 
Ibrd ; a train of artillery, planted onan eminenoe, was to enfilade 
the enemy's intrendiments ; and two armed, flat-bottomed boats, 
were to be mn on shore, near the redoubt, and favor the crossing 
of the troops. » 

As nsoal, in complicated orders, part were misunderstood, or 
neglected, and confusion was the consequence. Many of the boats 
from Point Levi ran aground on a shallow in the riyer, where 
they were exposed to a severe fire of shot and diells. Wolfe, 
who was on the shore, directing every thing, endeavored to stop 
his impatient troops until the boats could be got afloat, and the 
men landed. Thirteen companies of grenadiers, and two hun> 
dred provincials wer^ the first to land« Without waiting for 
Brigadier Monekton and his regiments ; without waiting for the 
oo-operation of the troops under Townshend; without waiting 
even to be drawn up in form, the grenadiers rushed impetuously 
towards the enemy's intrendmients. A sheeted fire mowed them 
down, and drove them to take s&elter behind the redoubt, near 
the ford, whi<di the enemy had abandoned. Here they remained, 
unable to form under the galling fire to which they were exposed, 
whei»ver they ventured from iheir covert. Honekton's brigade 
at length was landed, drawn up in order, and advanced to th^r 
relief, driving back the enemy. Thus protected, the grenadiers 
retreated as precipitately as they had advanced, leaving many of 
tiieir o(mirades wounded on the field, who were massacred and 
scalped in their sight, by the savages. The dday thus caused 
was fiitai to the enterprise. The day was advanced ; the weather 
became st>rmy ; the tide began to make ; at a later hour, retreat, 
in case of a seoond repulse, would be impossible. Wolfe, there- 


fore, gave up the attaok, and withdrew across the river, having 
lost upwards of four hundred men, through this headlong impet- 
uosity of the grenadiersir The two vessels which had been run 
aground, were set on fire, lest they should fall into the hands of 
the enemy.* 

Brigadier Murray was now detached with twelve hundred men, 
in transports, to asoend above the town, and co-operate with Bear- 
admiral Holmes, in destroying the enemy's shipping, and maldng 
desc^its upon the north diore. The shipping were safe from at- 
tack ; some stores and ammunition were destroyed ; some prison- 
ers taken, and Murray returned with the news of the capture of 
Fort Niagara, Tioonderoga, and Crown Point, and that Amherst 
was preparing to attack the Isle Aux Noix. 

Wolfe, of a delicate constitution and sensitive nature, had 
been deeply mortified by the severe check sustained at the Falls 
of Montmorency, fancying himself disgraced ; and these successes 
of his fellow-oommanders in other parts increased his self-upbraid- 
ing. The difficulties multiplying around him, and the delay of 
(General Amherst in hastening to his aid, preyed incessanUy on 
his spirits ; he was dejected even to despondency, and declared he 
would never return without success, to be exposed, like other un- 
fortunate commanders, to the sneers and reproaches of the p(^u- 
laoe. The agitation of his mind, and his acute sensiMlity, 
brought on a fever, which for some time incapacitated him firom 
taking the field. 

In the nndst of his illness he called a council of war, in whidi 
the whole plan of operations was altered. It was determined to 
convey troops above the town, and endeavor to make a diversion 
in that direction, or draw Montcalm into the open field. Before 

• Wolfe's Letter to Pitt, Sept 2d, 1169. 


carrying this plan into effect, Wolfe again reconnoitred the town 
in company with Adnural Saunders, bat nothing better snggested 

The brief Canadian summer was over; thej were in the 
month of September. The camp at Montmorency was broken up. 
The troops were transported to Point Levi, leaving a sufficient 
number to man the batteries on the Isle of Orleans. On the fifth 
and sixth of September the embarkation took place aboye Point 
Levi, in transports which had been sent up for the purpose. 
Montcalm detached De Bougainville with fifteen hundred men to 
keep along the north shore above the town, watch the move- 
ments of the squadron, and prevent a landing. To deceive him, 
Admiral Holmes moved with the ships of war three leagues be- 
yond the place where the landing was to be attempted. He was 
to drop down, however, in the night, and protect the landing. 
Oook, the future discoverer, also, was employed with others to 
sound the river and place buoys opposite the camp of Montcalm, 
as if an attack were meditated in that quarter. 

Wolfe was still suffering under the effBCts of his late fever. 
" My constitution," writes he to a friend, " is entirely ruined, 
without the consolation of having done any considerable service 
to the state, and without any prospect of it." Still he was unre- 
mitting in his exertions, seeking to wipe out the fiincied disgrace 
incurred at the Falls of Montmorency. It was in this mood he is 
said to have composed and sung at his evening mess that little 
campaigning song still linked with his name : 

Why, soldiers, why 
Should we be melanoholy, boys f 
Why, soldiers, why f 
Whose business 'tis to diel 
Vot. I.— 12* 


Eyen when embariced in hiB midnight enterpriBe, the presenti- 
ment of death seems to have oast its shadow over him. A mid^ 
shipman who was present,* nsed to relate, that as Wolfe sat 
among his officers, and the boats floated down silently with the 
current, he recited, in low and touching tones, Qraj's. Elegy in a 
country churdiyard, then just published. One stania may espe- 
oially haye accorded with his melancholy mood. 

" The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power. 

And all that beaaty, all that wealth e'er gare, 
Await alike the ineTitable hoar. 
The paths of glory lead but to the graye." 

" Now,gentlemen," said he, when he had finished, " I would 
rather be the author of that poem than take Quebec." 

The descent was made in flat-bottomed boats, past midnight, 
on the 13th of September. They dropped down silently with the 
swift current. " Qui va la ? " (who goes there ?) cried a sentinel 
from the shore. ^^La France ^^'^ replied a captain in the first 
boat, who understood the French language. "^ quel regi- 
ment ? " was the demand. 'fciDe la Beine^^ (the queen's), replied 
the captain, knowing that regiment was in De Bougainville's de- 
tachment. Fortunately, a conyoy of provisions was expected down 
from De Bougainville's, which the sentinel supposed this to be. 
" Fasse,^^ cried he, and the boats glided on without further chal- 
lenge. The landing took place in a cove near Cape Diamond, which 
still bears Wolfe's name. He had marked it in reconnoitering, and 
saw that a cragged path straggled up from it to the Heights of 
Abraham, which might be climbed, though with difficulty, and that 
it appeared to be slightly guarded at top. Wolfe was among the 

* Afterward* Pr o t awor John BobiMHi, of Edfaibargh. 


firs^ that landed and ascended np the steep and narrow path, 
where not more than two coold go abreast, and which had been 
broken np by cross ditches. Colonel Howe, at the same time, 
with the light infantry and Hi^ilanders, scrambled np the woody 
predpices, helping themselves by the roots and branches, and 
patting to flight a sergeant's guard posted at the summit Wolfe 
drew np the men in order as they mounted ; and by the break of 
day found himself in possession of the fateful Plains of Abraham. 

Montcalm was thunderstruck when word was brought to him 
in his camp that the English were on the heights ^eatening the 
weakest part of the town. Abandoning his intrenchments, he has- 
tened across the river St. Oharles and ascended the heights, which 
slope up gradually from its banks. His force was equal in num« 
ber to that of the English, but a great part was made up of colony 
troops and savages. When he saw the formidable host of regu- 
lars he had to contend with, he sent off swift messengers to summon 
Pe Bougainville with his detachment to his aid ; and De Y au- 
dreuil to reinforce him with fifteen hundred men from the camp. 
In the mean time he prepared to flank the left of the English Ibid 
and force them to the opposite precipices. Wolfe saw his aim, 
and sent Brigadier Townshend to counteract him with a regiment 
which was formed en jpotencBj and supported by two battalions, 
presenting on the left a double front. 

The French, in their haste, thinking they were to repel a mere 
scouting party, had brought but three light field-pieces with them , 
the English had but a single gun, which the sailors had dragged 
up the heights. With these they cannonaded eadi other for a 
time, Montcalm still waiting for the aid he had summoned. At 
length, about nine o'clock, losing all patience, he led on his dis- 
ciplined troops to a dose conflict with small armS| tiie Indians to 


support them bj a galling fire from thickets and oom-fields. The 
French advanced gallantly, but irregolarly; firing rigidly, bat 
with little effect. The English reserved their fire until their as- 
sailants were within forty yards, and then delivered it in deadly 
volleys. They suffered, however, from the lurking savages, who 
singled oat the officers. Wolfe, who was in front of the line, a 
oonspiouoos mark, was wounded by a ball in the wrist. He bound 
his handkerchief round the wouud and led on the grenadiers, wiUi 
fixed bayonets, to diarge the foe, who began to waver. Another 
ball struck hipi in the breast He felt the wbund to be mortal, 
and feared his fall might dishearten the troops. Leaning on a 
lieutenant for support ; << Let not my brave fellows see me drop," 
said he faintly. He was borne off to the rear ; water was brought 
to quench his thirst, and he was asked if he would have a sur- 
geon. "It is needless," he replied; "it is all over with me." 
He desired those about him to lay him down. The lieutenant 
seated himself on the ground, and supported him in his arms. 
" They run 1 they run ! see how they run ! " cried one of the at- 
tendants. "Who run?" demanded Wolfe, earnestly, like one 
aroused from sleep. "The enemy, sir; they give way evCTy 
where." The spirit of the expiring hero flashed up. " Qo, one 
of you, my lads, to Colonel Burton ; tell him to march Webb's 
regiment with all speed down to Charles' Eiver, to cut off the re- 
treat by the bridge." Then turning on his side ; " Now, Ood be 
praised, I will die in peace 1 " said he, and expired,* — soothed in 
his last moments by the idea that victory would obliterate the 
imagined disgrace at Montmorency. 

Brigadier Murray had indeed broken the centre of the enemy, 

* Hist Jour, of Capt John Knox, yoL L, p. 79. 

1109,] DEATH OF MONTCALM. 277 

and the Highlanders were making deadly hayoc with their claj- 
mores, driying the French into the town or down to their works 
on the river St. Charles. Monckton, the first brigadier, was dis- 
abled by a wound in the lungs, and the command devolved on 
Townshend, who hastened to re-form the troops of the centre, dis- 
ordered in pursning the enemy. By this time De Bougainville 
appeared at a distance in the rear, advancing with two thousand 
fresh troops , but he arrived too late to retrieve the day. The 
gallant Montcalm had received his death-wound near St John's 
Gate, while endeavoring to rally his flying troops, and had been 
borne into the town. 

Townshend advanced with a force to receive De Bougainville ; 
but the latter avoided a combat, and retired into woods and 
swamps, where it was not thought prudent to follow him. The 
English had obtained a complete victory ; slain about five hun- 
dred of the enemy ; taken above a thousand prisoners, and among 
them several officers ; and had a strong position on the Plains of 
Abraham, which they hastened to fortify with redoubts and 
artery, drawn up the heights. 

The brave Montcalm wrote a letter to General Towndiend, 
recommending the prisoners to British humanity. When told by 
his surgeon that he could not survive above a few hours ; *^ So 
much the better," replied he ; ^^ I shall not live to see the sur- 
render of Quebec." To De Bamsey, the French king's lieu- 
tenant, who commanded the garrison, he consigned the defence 
of the city. <' To your keeping," said he, " I commend the honor 
of France. I'll neither give orders, nor interfere any further. 
I have business to attend to of greater moment than your ruined 
garrison, and this wretched country. My time is short, — ^I 
shall pass this night wiiix Gh>d, and prepare myself for death. 

278 LIFE OF WASHINaXON. [llt^ 

I wiflh jou all comfort ; and to be happily eztrioated from your 
present perplenties." He then called for his chaplain, who, with 
the bishop of the colony, remained with him through the night. 
He expired early in the morning, dying like a braye soldier and 
adeyout Catholic Neyer did two worthier foes mingle their 
life blood on the battle-field than Wolfe and Montcalm.* 

Preparations were now made by the army and the fleet to 
make an attack on both upper and lower town ; but the spirit of 
the garrison was broken, and the inhabitants were clamorous for 
the safety of their wiyes and children. On the i7th of Septem- 
ber, Quebec capitulated, and was taken possession of by the Brit- 
ish, who hastened to put it in a complete posture of defence. A 
garrison of six thousand effectiye men was placed in it, under 
the command of Brigadier-general. Murray, and yictuaUed from 
the fleet. General Townshend embarked with Admiral Saunders, 
and returned to England ; and the wounded General Monokton 
was conyeyed to New York, of which he afterwards became goy- 

Had Amherst followed up his success at Ticonderoga the 
preceding summer, the year's campaign would haye ended, as had 
been projected, in the subjugation of Canada. His cautious dela^ 
gaye De Leyi, the successor of Montcalm, time to rally, concen- 
trate the scattered French forces, and struggle for the salyation 
of the proyince. 

In the following spring, as soon as the riyer St Lawrence 
opened, he a^[woached Quebec, and landed at Point au TremUe^ 
about twelye miles oC The garrison had suffered dreadfrilly 
during the winter from ezcessiye cold, want of yegetables and of 

* Knozi Hist Joor., vol i, p. tl 


fredi provisiinifl. Manj had died of sonrvy, and many more were 
ilL Murray, sanguine and injadicious, on hearing that De Levi 
was advancing with ten thousand men, and five hundred Indians, 
sallied out with his diminished forces of not more than three 
thousand. English soldiers, he hoasted, were habituated to vic- 
tory ; he had a fine train of artillery, and stood a better chance 
in the field than cooped up in a wretched fortification. If de- 
feated, he would defend the place to the last extremity, and then 
retreat to the Isle of Orleans, and wait for reinforcements. More 
brave than discreet, he attacked the vanguard of the enemy ; the 
battle ^ich took place was fierce and sanguinary. Murray's troops 
had caught his own headlong valor, and fought uhtil near a third 
of their number were slain. They were at length driven back 
into the town, leaving their boasted train of artiUery <m the field. 
De Levi opened trenches before the town the very evening of 
the battle. Three French ships, which had descended the river, 
famished him with cannon, mortars, and ammunition. By the 
1 1th of May, he had one bomb battery, and three batteries of 
cannon. Murray, equally alert within the walls, strengthened 
his defences, and k^t up a vigorous fire. His garrison was 
D(fW reduced to two hundred and twenty effective men, and he 
himself, with all his vaunting spirit, was driven almost to despair, 
when a British fleet arrived in the river. The whole scene was 
now reversed. One of the French frigates was driven on the 
rocks abote Oi^ Diamond; another ran on shore, and was 
burnt ; the rest of their vessels were either taken, or destroyed. 
The besie^Dg army retreated in the night, leaving provisions, 
imfdements, and arUllery behind them ; and so rapid was tiieir 
fli^t, that Murray, who sallied forth on the following day, could 
not overtake them. 


A last stand for the preservation of the colony was now made 
by the French at Montreal, where De Yaadretiil fixed his head- 
quarters, fortified himself, and called in all possible aid, Canadian 
and Indian. 

The cantioas, bat tardy Amherst was now in the field to 
carry out the plan in which he had fallen diort in the preyioiiB 
year. He sent orders to General Murray to adyanoe by water 
against Montreal, with all the force that could be spared from 
Quebec ; he detached a body of troops under Oolond Haviland 
from Grown Point, to cross Lake Ohamplain, take possession of 
the Isle Aux Noiz, and push on to the St. Lawrence, while he 
took the roundabout way with his main army by the Mohawk and 
Oneida rivers to Lake Ontario ; thence to descend the St. Law- 
rence to Montreal 

Murray, according to orders, embarked his troops in a great 
number of small vessels, and ascended the river in characteristic 
style, publishing manifestoes in the Canadian villages, disarming 
tibe inhabitants, and exacting the oath of neutrality. He looked 
forward to new laurels at Montreal, but the slow and sure Am- 
herst had anticipated him. That worthy general, after delaying 
on Lake Ontario to send out cruisers, and stopping to repair 
petty forts on the upper part of the St. Lawrence, which had 
been deserted by their garrisons, or surrendered without firing a 
gun, arrived on the 6th of September at the island of Montreal, 
routed some light skirmishing parties, and presented himself be- 
fore the town. Yaudreuil found himself threatened l>y an am^ 
of nearly ten thousand men, and a host of Indians; for Amherst 
had called in the aid of Sir William Johnson, and his Mohawk 
braves. To withstand a siege in an almost o^ea town against 
such superior force, was out of the question; especialty as Mur> 


raj from Quebec, and Hayiland from Grown Point, were at Iiand 
with additional troops. A capitulation accordingly took place on 
the 8th pf September, including the surrender not merely of 
Montreal, but of all Canada. 

Thus ended the contest between France and England for do- 
minion ih America, in which, as has been said, the first gun was 
fired in Washington's encounter with De Jumonville. A French 
statesman and diplomatist consoled himself by the persuasion 
that it would be a fatal triumph to England. It would remove 
the only check by which her colonies were kept in awe. '' They 
will no longer need her protection," said he; " she will call on 
ihem to contribute toward supportmg the burdens they have 
helped to bring on her, and th$y vnll answ&r by striking off all 
dependence?"* • 

* Connt de Yeigenneg, French ambassador at Constantinople. 


▼jLBHINQTON's installation in the BOUBX of BUBGX8SXS — BIB BUBAL IIFB — 




For three months after his marriage, Washington resided with 
his hride at the << White House." During his sojourn there, he 
repaired to Williamshurg, to take his seat in the House of Bur- 
gesses. By a vote of the House, it had been determined to greet 
his instahnent by a signal testimonial of respect. Accordingly, 
as soon as he took his seat, Mr. Bobinson, the Speaker, in 
eloquent language, dictated by the warmth of priyate frieiidship, 
returned thanks, on behalf of the colony, for the distinguished 
military services he had rendered to his country. 

Washington rose to reply; blushed — stammered — kembldd, 
and could not utter a word. ^ Sit down, Mr. Washington," said 
the Speaker, with a smile ; *^ your modesty equals your valoTi 
and that surpasses the power of any language I possess." 

Such was Washington's first launch into ciyil life, in which 
be was to be distinguished by the same judgment, deroUon, ooor* 

11769. RUBAL LITB. 283 

age, and magnanimity exhibited in his military eareer. He at- 
tended the House frequently during the remainder of the setssion, 
after which he condacted his bride to his favorite abode of Mount 

Mr. CostiS) the first husband of Mrs. Washington, had lefl 
large landed properly, and forty-fire thousand pounds sterling in 
money. One third fdl to his widow in her own right; two 
thirds were inherited equally by her two children, — a boy of six, 
and a girl of four years of age. By a decree of the General 
Court, Washington was intrusted with the care of the property 
inherited by the children; a sacred and delicate trust, which he 
discharged in the most faithful and judicious manner ; becoming 
more like a parent, than a mere guardian to them. 

From a letter to his correspondent in England, it would ap- 
pear that he had long entertained & desire to visit that country. 
Had he done so, his acknowledged merit and military services 
would have insured him a distinguished reception ; and it has 
been intimated, that the signal favor of government might have 
dianged the current of his career. We believe him, however, to 
have been too pure a patriot, and too clearly possessed of the true 
interests of his country, to be diverted from the course which he 
ultimately adopted. His marriage, at any rate, had put an end 
to all travelling inclinations. In his letter from Mount Ver- 
non, he writes : << I am now, I believe, fixed in this seat, with an 
agreeable partner for life, and I hope to find more happiness in 
retirement than I ever experienced in the wide and bustling 

This was no Utopian dream transiently indulged, amid the 
charms of novdty. It was a ddiberate purpose with him, the 
result of innate and enduring inolinations. Throughout the 

284 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [1769-68. 

whole course of his career, agricultural life appears to haye been 
his beau iddcU of existence, which haunted his thoughts eyen 
amid the stem duties of the field, and to which he recurred 
with unflagging interest wheneyer enabled to indulge his natural 

Mount Yemen was his harbor of repose, where he repeatedly 
furled his sail, and fancied himself anchored for life. No impulse 
of ambition tempted him thence; nothing but the call of his 
country, and his deyotion to the public good. The place was en- 
deared to him by the remembrance of his brother Lawrence, and 
of the happy days he had passed here with that brother in the 
days of boyhood ; but it was a delightful place in itself, and well 
calculated to inspire the rural feeling. 

The mansion was beautifully situated on a swelling height, 
crowned with wood, and commanding a magnificent yiew up and 
down the Potomac. The grounds immediately about it were laid 
out somewhat in the En^ish taste. The estate was apportioned 
into separate farms, deyoted to different kinds of culture, each 
haying its allotted laborers. Much, howeyer, was still coyered 
with wild woods, seamed with deep dells and runs of water, and 
indented with inlets ; haunts of deer, and lurking-places of foxes. 
The whole woody region along the Potomac from Mount Yemen 
to Belyoir, and far beyond, with its range of forests and hills, 
and picturesque promontories, afforded sport of yarious kinds, 
and was a noble hunting-ground. Washington had hunted 
throu^ it with old Lord Fairfax in his stripling days ; we do 
not wonder that his feelings throughout life incessantly reyerted 
to it. 

'^ No estate in United America," obseryes he, in one of his 
letters, <'is more pleasantly situated. In a high and healthy 


coimtry; in a latitude between the extremes of heat and cold; 
on one of the finest rivers in the world ; a river well stocked with 
various kinds of fish at all seasons of the year, and in the spring 
with shad, herrings, bass, carp, sturgeon, &c., in great abundance. 
The borders of the estate are washed bj more than ten miles of 
tide water ; several valuable fisheries appertain to it : the whole 
shore, in fact, is one entire fishery." 

These were, as yet, the aristocratical days of Virginia. The 
estates were large, and continued in the same fiunilies by entails. 
Many of the wealthy planters were connected with old fiunilies 
in England. The young men, especially the elder sons, were 
often sent to finish their education there, and on their return 
brought out the tastes and habits of the mother country. The 
governors of Virginia were from the higher ranks of society, and 
maintained a corresponding state. The '' established," or Epis- 
copal church, predominated throughout the '' ancient dominion," 
as it was termed ; each county was divided into parishes, as in 
England, — each with its parochial church, its parsonage, and 
glebe. Washington was vestryman of two parishes, Fairfi&x and 
Truro ; the parochial church of the former was at Alexandria, 
ten miles from Mount Vernon ; of the latter, at Pohick, about 
seven miles. The church at Pohick was rebuilt on a plan of his 
own, and in a great measure at his expense. At one or other of 
these churches he attended every Sunday, when the weather and 
the roads permitted. His demeanor was reverential and de- 
vout Mrs. Washington knelt during the prayers; he always 
stood, as was the custom at that time. Both were communis 

Among his occasional visitors and associates were Captain 
' Hugh Mercer and Dr. Oraik; the former, after his narrow escapes 

286 LIFE OP WASHINGTON, [l769-«t 

from the tomahawk and 8oalpiiig<knife, was quietlj settled at 
Fredericksbarg ; the ktter, after the campaigns on the frontier 
were oyer, had taken np his residence at Alexandria, and was 
now Washington's family physician. Both were drawn to him 
by campaigning ties and recollections, and were ever welcome at 
Mount Vernon. 

A style of living prevailed am<nig the opnlent Virginian funi- 
lies in those days that has long since faded away. The houses 
were spacious, commodious, liberal in all their appointments, and 
fitted to cope with the free-handed, open-hearted hospitality of 
the owners. Nothing was more common than to see handsome 
services of plate, elegant equipages, and superb carriage horses — 
all imported from England. 

The Virginians have always been noted for their love of 
horses ; a manly passion which, in those days of opulence, they 
indulged without regard to expense. The rich planters vied with 
each other in their studs, importing the best English stocks. 
Mention is made of one of the Randolphs of Tuckahoe, who built 
a stable for his favorite dapple-gray horse, Shakespeare, with a 
recess for the bed of the negro groom, who always slept beside 
him at night. 

Washington, by his marriage, had added above one hundred 
thousand dollars to his already considerable fortune, and was 
enabled to live in ample and dignified style. His intimacy with 
the Fairfaxes, and his intercourse with British officers of rank, 
had perhaps had their influence on his mode of living. He had 
his chariot and four, with black postilions in livery, for the use of 
Mrs. Washington and her lady visitors. As for himself, ho al- 
ways appeared on horseback. His stable was well filled and ad- 
mirably regulated. His stud was thoroughbred and in excellent < 


ordar. His boiuehold books oontftin registers of the names, ages, 
and marks of his yarious horses ; snoh as Ajax, Blneskin, Valiant, 
Magnolia (an Arab), &c. Also his dogs, chieAj foz^ionnds, 
Yuloan, Singer, Eingwood, Sweetiips, Forrester, Mosio, Bodo 
wood, Tmelove, &c.* 

A large Virginia estate, in those days, was a little empire. 
The mansion-hoose was the seat of goremment, witii its nnmerons 
d^ndencies, such as kitchens, smoke-honse, workshops and 
stables. In this mansion the planter roled supreme; his steward 
or OTorseer was his prime minister and exeoatiye officer ; he had 
Lis legion of house negroes for domestic service, and his host of 
field negroes for the culture of tobacco, Indian com, and other 
crops, and for other out of door labor. Their quarter formed a 
kind of hamlet apart, composed of various huts, with little gar- 
dens and poultry yards, all well stocked, and swarms of little ne- 
groes gambolling in the sunshine. Then there were large wooden 
edifices for curing tobacco, the staple and most profitable produc- 
tion, and mills for grinding wheat and Indian corn, of which large 
fields were cultivated for the supply of the family and the main- 
tenance of the negroes. 

* In one of his letter-books we find orders on his London agent for 
riding equipments. For example: 

1 Man's riding-saddle, hogskin seat, large plated stirrups and every 
thing complete. Double reined bridle and Pelham bit, plated. 

A very neat and fashionable Newmarket saddle-cloth. 

A large and best portmanteau, saddle, bridle, and pilHon. 

doak-bag surcin^e ; checked saddle-cloth, holsters, &o. 

A riding-frock of a handsome drab-colored broadcloth, with plain double 
g^t buttons. 

A riding waistcoat of superfine ecariet cloth and gold lace, with buttons 
like those of the coat 

A blue surtout coat 
* A neat switch whip, silver cap. 

Black velvet cap for seryant 


Among the slaves were artificers of all kinds, tailors, shoe* 
makers, carpenters, smiths, wheelwrights, and so forth ; so that a 
plantation produced erery thing within itself for ordinary use : as 
to artides of fashion and elegance, luxuries, and expensiye clothe 
ing, thej were imported firom London ; for the planters on the 
main rivers, especially the Potomac, carried on an immediate 
trade with England. Their tobacco was put up by their own ne- 
groes, bore their own marks, was shipped on board of vessels 
which came up the rivers for the purpose, and consigned to some 
agent in Liverpool or Bristol, with whom the planter kept an 

The Virginia planters were prone to leave the care of their 
estates too much to their overseers, and to think personal labor a 
degradation. Washington carried into his rural affiurs the same 
method, activity, and circumspection that had distinguished him 
in military life. He kept his own accounts, posted up his books 
and balanced them with mercantile exactness. We have exam- 
ined them as well as his diaries recording his daily occupations, 
and his letter-books, containing entries of shipments of tobacco, 
and correspondence with his London agenta They are monu- 
ments of his business habits.* 

* The following letter of Washington to his London correspondents will 
give an idea of the early interconne of the Virginia planters with the mo> 
ther country. 

" Onr goods by the Liberty, Oapt Walker, came to hand in good order 
and floon after his arrival, as they generally do when shipped in m vessel to 
this river [the Potonuus], and scarce ever when they go to any others; for 
it don't often happen that a vessel bound to one river has goods of any con^ 
sequence to another; and the masters, in these cases, keep the packages till 
an accidental conveyance offers, and for want of better opportnnities fire- 
quently commit them to boatmen who care very little for the goods so 
they get their freight, and often Und them wherever it suits their convent- 

1169-^t} DAILY HABira 289 

The products of his estate also became so noted for the faith- 
fidness, as to quality and quantity, with which they were put np, 
that it is said any barrel of flour that bore the brand of George 
Washington, Mount Yernon, was exempted from the customary 
inspection in the West India ports.* 

He was an early riser, often before daybreak in the winter 
when the nights were long. On such occasions he lit his own 
fire and wrote or read by candle-light. He breakfasted at seven 
in summer, at eight in winter. Two small cups of tea and three 
or four cakes of Indian meal (called hoe cakes), formed his frugal 
repast. Immediately after breakfast he mounted his horse and 
visited those parts of the estate where any work was going on, 
seeing to every thing with his own eyes, and often aiding with his 
own hand. 

Dinner was served at two o'clock. He ate heartily, but was 
no epicure, nor critical about his food. His beverage was small 
beer or cider, and two glasses of old Madeira. He took tea, of 
which he was very fond, early in the evening, and retired for the 
night about nine o'clock. 

If confined to the house by bad weather, he took that occasion 
to arrange his papers, post up his accounts, or write letters ; pass- 
ing part of the time in reading, and occasionally reading aloud to 
the family. 

He treated his negroes with kindness ; attended to their com- 
forts; was particularly careful of them in sickness; but never 

ence, not where they have engaged to do so. • • • • A ship from 
London to Virginia may be in Rappahannock op any of the other nyevs 
three months before I know any thing of their arrival, and may mako 
twenty voyages without my seeing or even hearing of the captain.* 

* Speech of the Hon. Robert 0. Winthrop on Ift^ring tlie comer-atone of 
Washington's Monmnent 

Vol. L— 13 

290 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [1769-68. 

tolerated idleness, and exacted a faithful performance of all their 
allotted tasks. He had a quick eye at calculating each man's 
capabilities. An entry in his diary gives a curious instance of this. 
Four of his negroes, employed as carpenters, were hewing and 
shaping timber. It appeared to him, in noticing the amount of 
work accomplished between two succeeding mornings, that they 
loitered at their labor. Sitting down quietly he timed their 
operations ; how long it took them to get their cross-cut saw and 
other implements ready; how long to clear away the branches 
from the trunk of a fallen tree ; how long to hew and saw it ; 
what time was expended in considering and consulting, and after 
all, how much work was effected durin|g the time he looked on. 
From this he made his computation how much they could execute 
in the course of a day, working entirely at their ease. 

At another time we find him working for a part of two days 
with Peter, his smith, to make a plough on a new invention of his 
own. This, after two or three failures, he accomplished. Then, 
with less than his usual judgment, he put his two chariot horses 
to the plough, and ran a great risk of spoiling them, in giving his 
new invention a trial over ground thickly swarded. 

Anon, during a thunderstorm, a frightened negro alarms the 
house with word that the mill is giving way, upon which there is 
a general turn out of all the foroes, with Washington at their 
head, wheeling and shovelling gravel, during a pelting rain, to 
check the rushing water. 

Washington delighted in the chase. In the hunting se^uston, 
when he rode out early in the morning to visit distant parts of 
the estate, where work was going on, he often took some of the 
dogs with him for the chance of starting a fox, which he occasion- 
ally did, though he was not always successful in killing hin^ Qp 

1769-68.] FOX-HUNTING. 291 

was a bold rider and an admirable horseman, thongh he neyer 
claimed the merit of being an accomplished fox-hunter. In the 
height of the season, howeyer, he woold be out with the foz- 
homids two or three times a week, accompanied by his gaests at 
Mount Yemen and the gentlemen of the neighborhood, especially 
the Fairies of Belvoir, of which estate his friend Q^orge Wil- 
liam Fair&z was now the proprietor. On such occasions there 
would be a hunting dinner at one or other of those establishments, 
at which conyivial repasts Washington is said to haye enjoyed 
himself with unwonted hilarity. 

Now and then his old friend and instructor in the noble art 
of yenery, Lord Fairfsiz, would be on a yisit to his relatiyes at 
Belyoir, and then the hunting was kept up with unusual sjmt.* 

His lordship, howeyer, since the alarms of Indian war had 
ceased, liyed almost entirely at Qreenway Oourt, where Wash- 
ington was occasionally a guest, when called by public business to 
Winchester. Lord Fairfax had made himself a fayorite through- 
out the neighborhood. As lord-lieutenant and custos rotulorum 
of Frederick County, he presided at county courts held at Win- 
chester, where, during the sessions, he kept open table. He act- 
ed also as suryeyor and oyerseer of the public roads and highways, 

* Huntiiig memoranda from Washington's journal, Mount Yemon. 

Not. 22. — ^Hunting with Lord Fairfax and his brother, and Colonel Fair- 

Nov. 25.— Mr. Bryan Fairfax, Mr. Grayson, and Phil. Alexander came 
here by sunrise. Hunted and catched a fox with these, Lord Fairfax, his 
brother, and CJol. Fairfax,— aU of whom, with Mr. Fairfax and Mr. Wilson of 
England, dined here. 26th and 29tlL^>Hunted again with the same com- 

Dee. 6. — Fox-hxmting with Lord Fairfax and his brother, and Colonel 
Fairfax. Started a fox and lost it Dined at Belyoir, and returned in the 

292 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [1769-68. 

and was unremitted in his exertions and plans for the improve- 
ment of the ooontry. Hunting, however, was his passion. 
When the sport was poor near home, he would take his hounds 
to a distant part of the country, establish himself at an inn, and 
keep open house and open table to every person of good character 
and respectable appearance who chose to join him in following 
the hoimds. 

It was probably in quest of sport of the kind that he now and 
then, in the hxmting season, revisited his old haunts and former 
companions on the banks of the Potomac, and then the beautiful 
woodland region about Belvoir and Mount Vernon was sure to 
ring at early morn with the inspiring music of the hound. 

The waters of the Potomac also afforded occasional amuse- 
ment in fishing and shooting. The fishing was sometimes on a 
grand scale, when the herrings came up the river in shoals, and 
the negroes of Mount Yemen were marshalled forth to draw the 
seine, which was generally done with great success. Canvas-back 
ducks abounded at the proper season, and the shooting of them 
was one of Washington's favorite recreations. The river border 
of his domain, however, was somewhat subject to invasion. An 
oysterman once anchored his craft at the landing-place, and dis- 
turbed the quiet of the neighborhood by the insolent and disor- 
derly conduct of himself and crew. It took a campaign of three 
days to expel these invaders from the premises. 

A more summary course was pursued with another interloper. 
This was a vagabond who infested the creeks and inlets which 
bordered the estate, lurking in a canoe among the reeds and 
bushes, and making great havoc among the canvas-back ducks. 
He had been warned off repeatedly, but without effect. As 
Washington was one day riding about the estate he heard the 

l'759-68.] AQUATIO BEOBEATIONS. 293 

report of a gun from the margin of the river. Spurring in that 
direction he dashed through the bashes and came upon the cul- 
prit just as he was pushing his canoe i^om shore. The latter 
raised his gun with a menacing look; but Washington rode into 
the stream, seized the painter of the canoe, drew it to shore, 
sprang from his horse, wrested the gun from the hands of the 
astonished delinquent, and inflicted on him a lesson in " Lynch 
law" that effectually cured him of all inclination to trespass 
again on these forbidden shores. 

The Potomac, in ihe palmy days of Virginia, was occasionally 
the scene of a little aquatic state and ostentation among the rich 
planters who resided on its banks. They had beautiful barges, 
which, like their land equipages, were imported from England ; 
and mention is made of a Mr. Digges who always received Wash- 
ington in his barge, rowed by six negroes, arrayed in a kind of 
uniform of check shirts and black velvet caps. At one time, 
according to notes in Washiijgton's diary, the whole neigh- 
borhood is thrown into a paroxysm of festivity, by the an- 
choring of a British frigate (the Boston) in the river, just in 
front of the hospitable mansion of the Fairfaxes. A succes- 
sion of dinners and breakfasts takes place at Mount Yemon and 
Belvoir, with occasional tea parties on board of the frigate. 
The commander. Sir Thomas Aduns, his officers, and his mid- 
shipmen, are cherished guests, and have the freedom of both es- 

' Occasionally he and Mra Washington would pay a visit to 
Annapolis, at that time the seat of government of Maiyland, 
and partake of the gayeties which prevailed during the session of 
the legislature. The society of these seats of provincial govern- 
ments was always polite and fashionable, and more exclusive than 

294 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [1769-68. 

in these republican days, being, in a manner, the outposts of the 
English aristocracy, where all places of dignity or profit were 
secured for younger sons, and poor, but proud relatives. During 
the session of the Legislature, dinners and balls abounded, and 
there were occasional attempts at theatricals The latter was an 
amusement for which Washington always had a relish, though he 
never had an opportunity of gratifying it effectually. Neither was 
he disinclined to mingle in the dance, and we remember to have 
heard venerable ladies, who had been belles in his day, pride 
themselves on having had him for a partner, though, they added, 
he was apt to be a ceremonious and grave one.* 

In this round of rural occupation, rural amusements, and 
social intercourse, Washington passed several tranquil years, the 
halcyon season of his life. His already established reputation 
drew many visitors to Mount Vernon ; some of his early com- 
panions in arms were his occasional guests, and his friendships and 
connections linked him with some of the most prominent and 
worthy people of the country, who were sure to be received with 
cordial, but simple and unpretending hospitality. His marriage 
was unblessed with children ; but those of Mrs. Washington ex- 
perienced from him parental care and affection, and the formation 

* We haye had an amuBiDg picture of Annapolis, as it was at this pe- 
riod, famished to us, some yean since by an octogenarian who had resided 
there in his boyhood. " In those parts of the country," said he, " where 
the roads were too rough for carriages, the ladies used to ride on ponies, 
followed by black servants on horseback ; in this way his mother, then ad- 
vanced in life, used to travel, in a scarlet doth riding habit, which she 
had procured from England. Nay, in this way, on emergencies," he added, 
« the young ladies from the country used to come to the balls at Annapolis, 
riding with their hoops arranged ' fore and aft' like lateen sails ; and after 
dancing all night, would ride home again in the morning.** 

1769-68.] DISMAL SWAMP. 295 

of their minds and manners was one of the dearest objects of his 
attention. His domestic concerns and social enjoyments, how- 
eyer, were not permitted to interfere with his public duties. He 
was active by nature, and eminently a man of business by habit. 
As judge of the county court, and member of the House of Bur- 
gesses, he had numerous calls upon his time and thoughts, and 
was often drawn from home ; for whatever trust he undertook, he 
was sure to fulfil with scrupulous exactness. 

About this time we find him engaged, with other men of enter- 
prise, in a project to drain the great Dismal Swamp, and render 
it capable of cultivation. This vast morass was about thirty 
miles long, and ten miles wide, and its interior but little known. 
With his usual zeal and hardihood he explored it on horseback 
and on foot In many parts it was covered with dark and gloomy 
woods of cedar, cypress, and hemlock, or deciduous trees, the 
branches of which were hung with long drooping moss. Other 
parts were almost inaccessible, from the density of brakes and 
thickets, entangled with vines, briers, and creeping plants, and in- 
tersected by creeks and standing pools. Occasionally the soil, 
composed of dead vegetable fibre, was over his horse's fetlocks, 
and sometimes he had to dismount and make his way on foot 
over a quaking bog that shook beneath his tread. 

In the centre of the morass he came to a great piece of water, 
six miles long, and three broad, called Drummond's Pond, but 
more poetically celebrated as the Lake of the Dismal Swamp. It 
was more elevated than any other part of the swamp, and capable 
of feeding canals, by which the whole might be traversed. Hav- 
ing made the circuit of it, and noted all its characteristics, he 
encamped for the night upon the firm land which bordered it, and 
finished his explorations on the following day. 


In the ensuing session of the Virginia Legislature, the asso- 
ciation in behalf of which he had acted, was chartered under the 
name of the Dismal Swamp Company; and to his obserrations 
and forecast may be traced the subsequent improvement and pros- 
perity of that once desolate region. 



TmiKGS of peace gladdened the colonies in the spring of 1763 
The definitive treaty between England and France had been 
signed at Fontainbleao. Now, it was trusted, there would be an 
end to those horrid ravages that had desolated the interior of the 
country. '^ The desert and the silent place would rejoice, and the 
wilderness would blossom like the rose." 

The month of May proved tie fallacy of such hopes. In 
that month the famous insurrection of the Indian tribes broke 
out, which, from the name of the chief who was its prime mover 
and master spirit, is commonly called Pontiac's war. The Dela- 
wares and Shawnees, and other of those emigrant tribes of the 
Ohio, among whom Washington had mingled, were foremost in 
this conspiracy. Some of the chiefs who had been his allies, had 
now taken up the hatchet against the English. The plot was deep 

Vol. L— 13* 


laid, and condaoted with Indian craft and secrecy. At a con- 
certed time an attack was made upon all the posts from Detroit 
to Fort Pitt (late Fort Duqnesne). Several of the small stock- 
aded forts, the places of refuge of woodland neighborhoods, were 
surprised and sacked with remorseless butchery. The frontiers 
of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, were laid waste ; traders 
in the wilderness were plundered and slain ; hamlets and farm- 
houses were wrapped in flames, and their inhabitants massacred. 
Shingis, with his Delaware warriors, blockaded Fort Pitt, which, 
for some time, was in imminent danger. Detroit, also, came near 
falling into the hands of the savages. It needed all the influence 
of Sir William Johnson, that potentate in savage life, to keep 
the Six Nations from joining this formidable conspiracy ; had 
they done so, the triumph of the tomahawk and scalping knife 
would have been complete ; as it was, a considerable time elapsed 
before the frontier was restored to tolerable tranquillity. 

Fortunately, Washington's retirement from the army prevented 
his being entangled in this savage war, which raged throughout 
the regions he had repeatedly visited, or rather his active spirit 
had been diverted into a more peaceful channel, for he was at 
this time occupied in the enterprbe just noticed, for draining the 
great Dismal Swamp. 

Public events were now taking a tendency which, without any 
political aspiration or forethought of his own, was destined grad- 
ually to bear him away from his quiet home and individual pur- 
suits, and launch him upon a grander and wider sphere of action 
than any in which he had hitherto been engaged. 

The prediction of the Count de Vergennes was in the process of 
fulfilment. The recent war of Great Britain for dominion in 
America, though crowned with success, had engendered a progeny 


of discontents in her colonies. Washington was among the first 
to perceive its bitter fruits. British merchants had complained 
loudly of losses sustained by the depreciation of the colonial 
paper, issued during the late war, in times of emergency, and had 
addressed a memorial on the subject to the Board of Trade. 
Scarce was peace concluded, when an order from the board de- 
clared that no paper, issued by colonial Assemblies, should thence- 
forward be a legal tender in the payment of debts. Washington 
deprecated this " stir of the merchants " as peculiarly ill-timed ; 
and expressed an apprehension that the orders in question ''would 
set the whole country in flames," 

We do not profess, in this personal memoir, to enter into a 
wide scope of general history, but shall content ourselves with a 
glance at the circumstances and events which gradually kindled 
the conflagration thus apprehended by the anxious mind of Wash- 

Whatever might be the natural affection of the colonies for 
the mother country, — and there are abundant evidences to prove 
that it was deep-rooted and strong, — ^it had never been properly 
reciprocated. They yearned to be considered as children ; they 
were treated by her as changelings. Burke testifies that her 
policy toward them from the beginning had been purely commer- 
cial, and her commercial policy wholly restrictive. '' It was iho 
system of a monopoly." 

Her navigation laws had shut their ports against foreign ves- 
sels ; obliged them to export their productions only to countries 
belonging to the British crown ; to import European goods solely 
from England, and in English ships ; and had subjected the tra^lo 
between the colonies to duties. All manufactures, too, in the 
colonies that might interfere with those of the mother country 


had been either totallj prohibited, or subjected to intolerable re- 

The acts of Parliament, imposing these prohibitions and re- 
strictions, had at varions times produced sore discontent and 
opposition on the part of the colonies, especially among those of 
New England. The interests of these last were chiefly commercial, 
and among them the republican spirit predominated. They had 
sprung into existence during that part of the reign of James L 
when disputes ran high about kingly prerogatiye and popular 

The Pilgrims, as they styled themselves, who founded Ply- 
mouth Colony in 1620, had been incensed while in England by 
what they stigmatized as the oppressions of the monarchy, and 
the established church. They had sought the wilds of America 
for the indulgence of freedom of opinion; and had brought with 
them the spirit of independence and self-government. Those 
who followed them in the reign of Charles I. were imbued with 
the same spirit, and gave a lasting character to the people of New 

Other colonies, having been formed under other circumstances, 
might be inclined toward a monarchical government, and disposed 
to acquiesce in its exactions ; but the rejpublican spirit was ever 
alive in New England, watching over '' natural and chartered 
rights," and prompt to defend them against any infringement. 
Its example and instigation had gradually an effect on the other 
colonies; a general impatience was evinced from time to time 
of parliamentary interference in colonial affairs, and a disposition 
in the various provincial Legislatures to think and act for them- 
selves in matters of civil and religious, as well as commercial 



There was nothing, however, to which the jealous sensibilities 
of the colonies were more alive than to any attempt of the 
mother country to draw a revenue from them by taxation. From 
the earliest period of their existence, they had' maintained the prin- 
ciple that they could only be taxed by a Legislature in which they 
were represented. Sir Robert Walpole, when at the head of the 
British government, was aware of their jealous sensibility on this 
point, and cautious of provoking it. When American taxation 
was suggested, *^ it must be a bolder man than himself," he re- 
plied, " and one less friendly to conmierce, who should venture 
on such an expedient. For his part, he would encourage the trade 
of the colonies to the utmost ; one half of the profits would be 
sure to come into the royal exchequer through the increased de- 
mand for British manufactures. T^is," said he, sagaciously, 
" is taxing them more agreeably to their oum constitution and 

Subsequent ministers adopted a widely different policy. Dur- 
ing the progress of the French war, various projects were dis- 
cussed in England with rdgard to the colonies, which were to be 
carried into effect on the return of peace. The open avowal of 
some of these plans, and vague rumors of others, more than ever 
irritated the jealous feelings of the colonists, and put the dragon 
spirit of New England on the alert 

In 1760, there was an attempt in Boston to collect duties on 
foreign sugar and molasses imported into the colonies. Writs of 
assistance were applied for by the custom-house officers, authoriz- 
ing them to break 'open ships, stores, and private dwellings, in 
quest of articles that had paid no duty ; and to call the assistance 
of others in the discharge of their odious task. The merchants 
opposed the execution of the writ on constitutional grounds. 


The question was argued in court) where James Otis spoke so elo- 
quently in Tindication of American rights, that all his hearers 
went away ready to take arms against writs of assistance. " Then 
and there,'' says John Adams, who was present, '' was the first 
scene of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Qreat Britain. 
Then and there American Independence was bom." 

Another ministerial measure was to instruct the provincial 
governors to commission judges. Not as theretofore ''during 
good behavior," but " during the king's pleasure." New York 
was the first to resent this blow at the independence of the ju- 
diciary. The lawyers appealed to the public through the press 
against an act which subjected the halls of justice to the preroga- 
tive. Their appeals were felt beyond the bounds of the province, 
and awakened a general spirit of resistance. 

Thus matters stood at the conclusion of the war. One of the 
first measures of ministers, on the return of peace, was to enjoin 
on all naval officers stationed on the coasts o£ the American colo- 
nies the performance, under oath, of the duties of custom-house 
officers, for the suppression of smuggling. This fell ruinously 
upon a clandestine trade which had long been connived at be- 
tween the English and Spanish colonies, profitable to both, but 
especially to the former, and beneficial to the mother country, 
opening a market to her manufactures. 

" Men-of-war," says Burke, " were for the first time armed 
with the regular commissions of custom-house officers, invested 
the coasts, and gave the collection of revenue the air of hostile 
contribution. • ♦ • • They fell so indiscriminately on all 
sorts of contraband, or supposed contraband, that some of the 
most valuable branches of trade were driven violently from our 


ports, which caused an uniyersal consternation throughout the 
colonies." • 

As a measure of retaliation, the colonists resolved not to pur- 
chase British fabrics, but to clothe themselves as much as possi- 
ble in home manufactures. The demand for British goods in 
Boston alone was diminished upwards of £10,000 sterling in the 
course of a year. 

In 1764, George Orenville, now at the head of government, 
ventured upon the policy from which Walpole had so wisely 
abstained. Early in March the eventful question was debated, 
" whether they had a right to tax America." It was decided in 
the affirmative. Next followed a resolution, declaring it proper 
to charge certain stamp duties in the colonies and plantations, 
but no immediate step was taken to carry it into effect Mr. 
Orenville, however, gave notice to the American agents in Lon- 
don, that he should introduce such a measure on the ensuing 
session of Parliament. In the mean time Parliament perpetu- 
ated certain duties on sugar and molasses — heretofore subjects 
of complaint and opposition — now reduced and modified so as to 
discourage smuggling, and thereby to render them more pro- 
ductive. Duties, also, were imposed on other articles of foreign 
produce or manufacture imported into the colonies. To recon- 
cile the latter to these impositions, it was stated that the revenue 
thus raised was to be appropriated to their protection and secu- 
rity ; in other words, to the support of a standing army, intended 
to be quartered upon them. 

We have here briefly stated but a part of what Burke terms 
an " infinite variety of paper chains," extending through no less 

* Burke on the &tate of the nation. 


than twenty-nine acts of Parliament, from 1660 to 1764, by 
which the colonies had been held in thraldom. 

The New Englanders were the first to take the field against the 
project of taxation. They denounced it as a violation of tiveir 
rights as freemen ; of their chartered rights, by which they were to 
tax themselves for their support and defence ; of their rights as 
British subjects, who ought not to be taxed but by themselves or 
their representatives. They tient petitions and remonstrances on 
the subject to the king, the lords and the commons, in which 
they were seconded by New York and Virginia. Franklin 
appeared in London at the head of agents from Pennsylvania, 
Connecticut and South Carolina, to deprecate, in person, measures 
so fraught with mischief The most eloquent arguments, were 
used by British orators and statesmen to dissuade Grenville from 
enforotng them. He was warned of the sturdy independence of 
the colonists, and the spirit of resistance he might provoke. All 
was in vain. Grenville, "great in daring and little in views," 
says Horace Walpole, " was charmed to have an untrodden field 
before him of calculation and experiment." In March, 1765, the 
act was passed, according to which all instruments in writing 
were to be executed on stamped paper, to be purchased from the 
agents of the British government. What was more : all offences 
against the act could be tried in any royal, marine or admiralty 
court, throughout the colonies, however distant from the place 
wKere the offence had 1)een committed ; thus interfering with that 
most inestimable right, a trial by jury. 

It was an ominous sign that the first burst of opposition to this 
act should take place in Virginia. That colony had hitherto been 
slow to accord with the republican spirit of New England. Founded 
at an earlier period of the reign of James I., before kingly pre^ 


rogative and eoolesiastical supremacy had been made matters of 
doubt and fierce dispute, it had grown up in loyal attachment to 
king, church, and constitution ; was aristocratical in its tastes and 
habits, and had been remarked above all the other colonies for its 
sympathies with the mother country. Moreover, it had not so 
many pecuniary interests involved in these questions as had the 
people of New England, being an agricultural rather than a com- 
mercial province ; but the Virginians are of a quick and generous 
spirit, readily aroused on all points of honorable pride, and they 
resented the stamp act as an outrage on their rights. 

'Washington occupied his seat in the House of Burgesses, 
when, on the 29th of May, the stamp act became a subject of 
discusrion. We have seen no previous opinions of his on the 
subject. His correspondence hitherto had not turned on political 
or speculative themes; being engrossed by either military or 
agricultural matters, and evincing little anticipation of the vortex 
of public duties into which he was about to be drawn. All his 
previous conduct and writings show a loyal devotion to the 
crown, with a patriotic attachment to his country. It is probable 
that on the present occasion that latent patriotism received its 
first electric shock. 

Among the Burgesses sat Patrick Henry, a young lawyer who 
had recently distinguished himself by pleading against the exer- 
cise of the royal prerogative in church matters, and who was now 
for the first time a member of the House. Bising in his place, 
he introduced his celebrated resolutions, declaring that the 
General Assembly of Virginia had the exclusive right and power 
to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants, and that who- 
ever maintained the contrary should be deemed an enemy to the 


The speaker, Mr. Bobinson, objected to the resolations, as 
inflammatory. Henry vindicated them, as justified by the nature 
of the case ; went into an able and constitutional discussion of 
colonial rights, and an eloquent exposition of the manner in 
which they had been assailed ; wound up by one of those daring 
flights of declamation for which he was remarkable, and startled 
the House by a warning flash from history: "Oaosar had his 
Brutus ; Oharles his Cromwell, and George the Third — (^ Treason ! 
treason I ' resounded from the neighborhood of the Chair) — ^may 
profit by their examples," added Heniy. '' Sir, if this be treason 
(bowing to the speaker), make the most of it I " 

The resolutions were modified, to accommodate them to the 
scruples of the speaker and some of the members, but their spirit 
was retained. The Lieutenant-goyemor (Fauquier), startled by 
this patriotic outbreak, dissolved the Assembly, and issued writs 
for a new election ; but the clarion had sounded. '* The resolves 
of the Assembly of Virginia," says a correspondent of the min- 
istry^ " g&ve the signal for a general outcry over the continent 
The movers and supporters of them were applauded as the pro- 
tectors and assertors of American liberty. • 

* Letter to Secretary Conway, New York, Sept 28.— PariianMfitairy 



Wabhikgton returned to Mount Vernon full of anxious thoughts 
inspired by the political events of the day, and the legislative 
scene which he witnessed. His recent letters had spoken of the 
state of peaceful tranquillity in which he was living ; those now 
written from his rural home show that he fully participated in 
the popular feeling, and that while he had a presentiment of an 
arduous struggle, his patriotic mind was revolving means of 
coping with it. Such is the tenor of a letter written to his wife's 
uncle, Francis Dandridge, then in London. " The stamp act," 
said he, " engrosses the conversation of the speculative part of the 
colonists, who look upon this unconstitutional method of taxation 
as a direful attack upon their liberties, and loudly exclaim against 
the violation. What may be the result of this, and of some other 


(I think I may add ill-judged) measures, I will not undertake to 
determine ; but this I may venture to affirm, that the advantage 
accruing to the mother country will fall greatly short of the ex- 
pectation of the ministry ; for certain it is, that our whole sub- 
stance already in a manner flows to Great Britain, and that what- 
soever contributes to lessen our importations must be hurtful to 
her manufactures. The eyes of our people already begin to be 
opened ; and they will perceive, that many luxuries, for which we 
lavish our substance in Great Britain, can well be dispensed witiu 
This, consequently, will introduce frugality, and be a necessary 
incitement to industry. ••♦♦•♦Asto the stamp 
act, regarded in a single view, one of the first bad consequences 
attending it, is, that our courts of judicature must inevitably be 
shut up ; for it is impossible, or next to impossible, under our 
present circumstances, that the act of Parliament can be com- 
plied with, were we ever so willing to enforce its execution. And 
not to say (which alone would be sufficient) that we have not 
money enough to pay for the stamps, there are many other cogent 
reasons which prove that it would be ineffectual" 

A letter of the same date to his agents in London, of ample 
length and minute in all its details, shows that, while deeply in- 
terested in the course of public affairs, his practical mind was ena- 
bled thoroughly and ably to manago the financial concerns of his 
estate and of the estate of Mrs. Washington's son, John Parke Ous- 
tis, towards whom he acted the part of a faithful and affectionate 
guardian. In those days, Virginia planters were still in direct 
and frequent correspondence with their London factors; and 
Washington's letters respecting his shipments of tobacco, and the 
returns required in various articles for household and personal 
use^ are perfect models for a man of businesa And this may be 


remarked throughout his whole career, that no pressure of 
eyents nor multiplicity of cares prevented a clear, steadfast, under- 
current of attention to domestic affairs, and the interest and well- 
being of all dependent upon him. 

In the mean time, from his quiet abode at Mount Yemen, he 
seemed to hear the patriotic voice of Patrick Henry, which had 
startled the House of Burgesses, echoing throughout the land, 
and rousing one legislative body after another to follow the ex- 
ample of that of Virginia. At the instigation of the (General 
Oourt or Assembly of Massachusetts, a Congress was held in New 
York in October, composed of delegates from Massachusetts, 
• Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylva- 
nia, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina. In this they de- 
noimced the acts of Parliament imposing taxes on them without 
their consent, and extending the jurisdiction of the courts of ad- 
miralty, as violations of their rights and liberties as natural bom 
subjects of Great Britain, and prepared an address to the king, 
and a petition to both Houses of Parliament, praying for redress. 
Similar petitions were forwarded to England by the colonies' not 
represented in the Congress. 

The very preparations for enforcing the stamp act called forth 
popular tumults in various places. In Boston the stamp distri- 
butor was hanged in effigy; his windows were broken; a house 
intended for a stamp office was pulled down, and the effigy burnt 
in a bonfire made of the fragments. The lieutenant-governor, chief 
justice, and sheriff, attempting to allay the tumult, were pelted. 
The stamp officer thought himself happy to be hanged merely in 
effigy, and next day publicly renounced the perilous office. 

Various were the proceedings in other places, all manifestiog 
public scorn and defiance of the act. In Virginia, Mr. George 


Meroer had been appointed distribator of stamps, but on Ub airival 
at Williamsburg publicly declined officiating. It was a firesh tri- 
umph to the popular cause. The bells were rung for joy ; the 
town was illuminated, and Meroer was hailed with acclamatioDS 
of the people.* 

The 1st of Noyemberi the day when the act was to go into 
operation, was ushered in with portentous Solemnities. There 
was great tolling of bells and burning of effigies in the New Eng- 
land colonies. At Boston the ships displayed their colors but 
half-mast high. Many shops were shut; foneral knells resounded 
from the steeples, and there was a grand auto-da-fe, in which the 
promoters of the act were paraded, and su£fered martyrdom in 

At New York the printed act was carried about the streets 
on a pole, surmounted by a death's head, with a scroll bearing the 
inscription, " The folly of England and ruin of America." Col- 
den, the lieutenant-governor, who acquired considerable odium by 
recommending to government the taxation of the colonies, the insti- 
tution of hereditary Assemblies, and other Tory measures, seeing 
that a popular storm was rising, retired into the fort, taking witb 
him the stamp papers, and garrisoned it with marines from a 
ship of war. The mob broke into his stable ; drew out his cha- 
riot; put his effigy into it ; paraded it through the streets to the 
common (now the Park), where they hung it on a gallows. In the 
evening it was taken down, put again into the chariot, with the 
devil for a companion, and escorted back by torchlight to the 
Bowling Green ; where the whole pageant, chariot and all, 
burnt under the very guns of the fort 

* Hohnes's Annals, toL it, p. 188. 


These are specimens of the marks of popular reprobation with 
which the stamp act was universally nullified. No one would 
venture to carry it into execution. In fact no stamped paper was 
to be seen; all had been either destroyed or concealed. All 
transactions which required stamps to give them validity were 
suspended, or were executed by private compact The courts of 
justice were dosed, until at length some conducted their business 
without stamps. Union was becoming the watch-word. The 
merchants of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and such other 
colonies as had ventured publicly to oppose the stamp act, agreed 
to import no more British manufactures after the 1st of January 
unless it should be repealed. So passed away the year 1765. 

As yet Washington took no prominent part in the public agi- 
tation. Indeed he was never disposed to put himself forward on 
popular ooeasions, his innate modesty forbade it ; it was others 
who knew his worth that called him forth ; but when once he en- 
gaged in any public measure, he devoted himself to it with consci* 
entiousness and persevering zeaL At present he remained a quiet 
but vigilant .observer of events from his eagle nest at Mount Yer- 
non. He had some few intimates in his neighborhood who accord- 
ed with him in sentiment. One of the ablest and most efficient 
of these was Mr. George Mason, with whom he had occasional 
conversations on the state of affiiirs. His friends the Fairfaxes, 
though liberal in feelings and opinions, were too strong in their 
devotion to the crown not to regard with an uneasy eye the ten- 
dency of the popular bias. From one motive or other, the earnest 
attention of all the inmates and visitors at Mount Yemon, was 
turned to England, watching the movements of the ministry. 

The dismissal of Mr. GrenvUle from the cabinet gave a tem- 
porary change to public affairs. Perhaps nothing had a greater 


effect in favor of the colonies than an examination of Dr. Frank- 
lin before the House of Commons, on the subject of the stamp 

** What," he was asked, " was the temper of America towards 
Great Bpitain, before the year 1763 ? " 

" The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the 
government of the crown, and paid, in all their courts, obedience 
to the acts of Parliament. Numerous as the people are in the 
several old provinces, they cost you nothing in forts, citadels, 
garrisons, or armies, to keep them in subjection. They were gov- 
erned by this country at the expense only of a little pen, ink, 
and paper. They were led by a thread. They had not only a 
respect, but an affection for Great Britain, for its laws, its cus- 
toms, and manners, and even a fondness for its fashions, that 
greatly increased the commerce. Natives of Great Britain were 
always treated with particular regard; to be an Old-England 
man was, of itself, a character of some respect, and gave a kind 
of rank among us." 

" And what is their temper now ? " 

" Oh I very much altered." 

'^ If the act is not repealed, what do you think will be the 
consequences ? " 

" A total loss of the respect and affection the people of Amer- 
ica bear to this country, and of all the conmierce that depends on 
that respect and affection." 

" Do you think the people of America would submit to pay 
the stamp duty if it was moderated ? " 

" No, never, unless compelled by force of arms." • 

* Parliamentary Register, 1766. 


The act was repealed on the 18th of March, 1766, to the 
great joy of the sincere friends of both countries, and to no one 
more than to Washington. In one of his letters he observes : 
" Had the Parliament of Great Britain resolved upon enforcing 
it, the consequences, I conceive, would have been more direful 
than is generally apprehended, both to the mother country and 
her colonies. All, therefore, who were instrumental in procuring 
the repeal, are entitled to the thanks of every British subject, and 
have mine cordially." • 

Still, there was a fatal clause in the repeal, which declared 
that the king, with the consent of Parliament, had power and au- 
thority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity 
to " bind the colonies, and people of America, in all cases what^ 

As the people of America were contending for principles, not 
mere pecuniary interests, this reserved power of the crown and 
Parliament left the dispute still open, and chilled the feeling of 
gratitude which the repeal might otherwise have inspired. Fur- 
ther aliment for public discontent was furnished by other acts of 
Parliament. One imposed duties on glass, pasteboard, white and 
red lead, painters' colors, and tea ; the duties to be collected on 
the arrival of the articles in the colonies ; another empowered 
naval officers to enforce the acts of trade and navigation. An- 
other wounded to the quick the pride and sensibilities of New York. 
The mutiny act had recently been extended to America, with 
an additional clause, requiring the provincial Assemblies to provide 
the troops sent out with quarters, and to furnish them with fire, 
beds, candles, and other necessaries, at the ezpenbe of the 

* Sparks. Writings of Washington, il, 845, note^ 
Vol. 1.-^14 


colonies. The Governor and Assembly of New York refosed te 
comply with this requisition as to stationaiy forces, insisting ikai 
it applied only to troops on a march. An act of Parliament now 
suspended the powers of the governor and Assembly until they 
should comply. Chatham attributed this opposition of the 
colonists to the mutiny act to " their jealouay of being som^ow 
or other taxed internally by the Parliament ; the act," sud ke, 
'^ asserting the right of Parliament, has certainly spread a most 
unfortunate jealousy and diffidence of government here tkrou^ 
out America, and makes them jealous of the least distinotion be- 
tween this country and that, lest the same principle may be ex- 
tended to taxing them." * 

Boston continued to be the focus of what the ministerialists 
termed sedition. The Oeneral Court of Massachusetts, not con- 
tent with petitioning the king for relief against the recent mea- 
sures of Parliament, especially those imposing taxes as a means 
of revenue, drew up a circular, calling on the other colcmial Legis- 
latures to join with them in suitable efforts to obtain redress. In 
the ensuing session, Governor Sir Francis Bernard called upon 
them to rescind the resolution on which the circular was foonded, 
— ^they refused to comply, and the General Court was oonsequentiy 
dissolved. The governors of other colonies required of their 
Legislatures an assurance that they would not reply to the Mnssi 
chusetts circular, — these Legislatures likewise refused oomplioaoe, 
and were dissolved. All this added to the growing exatement 

Memorials were addressed to the lords, spiritual and tempo- 
ral, and remonstrances to the House of Commons, agunst taxa> 
tion for revenue, as destructive to the liberties of the colonists ^ 
and against the act suspending the legislative power of the pro- 

• Chatham's Correspondence, vol ill, p. 189-192. 


rince of New Toii:, as.menaoing the welfare of the colonies in 

Nothing, howerer, produced a more powerful effect upon 
the public sendbilitieB throughout the country, than certain mili- 
tary demonstrations at Boston. In consequence of repeated col- 
lisions between the people of that place and the commissioners 
<rf customs, two regiments were held in readiness at Halifax to 
embark for Boston in the ships of Commodore Hood wheneyer 
Governor Bernard, or the general, should ^ve the word. " Had 
this force been knded in Boston six months ago," writes the 
commodore, "I am perfectly persuaded no address or remon- 
strances would have been sent firom the other colonies, and that 
til would haye beea tolerably quiet and orderly at this time 
throughout America." * 

Tidings reached Boston that these troops were embarked 
and that they were coming to orerawe the people. What was to 
be d(me ? The General Oourt had been dissolved, and the governor 
refused to convene it without the royal command. A conven- 
tion, therefore, firom various towns met at Boston, on the 22d of 
September, to devise measures for the public safety; but dis- 
claiming all pretensions to legislative powers. While the conven- 
tion was yet in session (September 28th), tiie two regiments 
arrived, with seven armed vessel& '<I am very confident," 
writes Oimmiodore Hood from Halifax, '' the spirited measures 
now pursuing will soon effect order in America." 

On the contrary, these << spirited measures" added fuel 
to tiie fire they were intended to quench. It was resolved in a 
town meeting that the king had no right to send troops thither 
without the consent of the Assembly; that Great Britain had 

* Oronyflle Papers, vol iv., p. 862. 

316 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [l<7e«. 

broken the original compact, and that, therefore, the king's offioera 
had no longer any business there.* 

The "selectmen" accordingly refused to find quarters for 
the soldiers in the town ; the council refused to find barracks for 
them, lest it should be construed into a compliance with the dis- 
puted ckuse of the mutiny act Some of the troops, therefore, 
which had tents, were encamped on the common ; others, by the 
governor's orders, were quartered in the state-house, and others 
in FaneuH Hall, to the great indignation of the public, who were 
grievously scandalized at seeing field-pieces planted in front of 
the State-house; sentinels stationed at the doors, challenging 
every one who passed; and, above all, at having the sacred quiet 
of the Sabbath disturbed by drum and fife, and other military 

* Whattfy to Grenville. Gren. Papers, vol iv., p. S80. 


ayuaiUL un at mount txbnon — ^Washington and geobok xason-— oobbeb- 


Thboughout these pablic agitations, Washington endeayored to 
preserve his equanimity. Remoyed from the heated throngs of 
cities, his diary denotes a oheerfnl and healthfol life at Mount 
Yemen, devoted to those rural occupations in which he delighted, 
and varied occasionally by his favorite field sports. Sometimes 
he is duck-shooting on the Potomac. Repeatedly we find note 
of his being out at sunrise with the hounds, in company with old 
Lord Fairfax, Bryan Fairfax, and others ; and ending the day's 
sport by a dinner at Mount Vernon, or Belvoir. 

Still he was too true a patriot not to sympathize in the strug- 
gle for colonial rights which now agitated the whole country, and 
we find him gradually carried more and more into the current of 
political afiairs. 

A letter written on the 5th of April, 1769, to his friend. 


George Mason, shows the important stand he was disposed to 
take. In the previous year, the merchants and traders of Boston, 
Salem, Conneoticat, and New York, had agreed to suspend for a 
time the importation of all articles subject to taxation. Similar 
resolutions had recently been adopted by the merchants of Phila- 
delphia. Washington's letter is emphatic in support of the mea- 
sure. "At a time," writes he, "when our lordly masters in 
Great Britain will be satisfied with nothing less than the depri- 
vation of American^freedom, it seems highly necessary that some* 
thing should be done to avert the stroke, and maintain the liberty 
which we have derived from our ancestors. But the manner of 
doing it, to answer the purpose effectually, is the point in ques- 
tion. That no man should 'scruple, or hesitate a moment in de- 
fence of so valuable a blessing, is deaily my opinion ; ye^ arms 
should be the last resource— the dernier ressort. We have already, 
it is said, proved the inefficacy of addresses to the throne, and 
remonstrances to Parliament How far their att^tion to our 
rights and interests is to be awakened, or alarmed, by starving 
their trade and manufactures, remains to be tried. 

" The northern colonies, it appears, are endeavoring to adopi 
this scheme. In my opinion, it is a good one, and most be at- 
tended with salutary effects, provided it can be carried j^tty 
generally into execution. * * * That there will be a diffi- 
culty attending it every where from clashing interests, and selfishi 
designing men, ever attentive to their own gain, and watchful of 
every turn that can assist their lucrative views, cannot be d^ed, 
and in the tobacco colonies, where the trade is so diffused, and in a 
manner wholly conducted by factors for their principals at home, 
these difficulties are certainly enhanced, but I think not insure 
mountably increased, if the gentlemen in their several counties 


vill:be at some pains to explain matters to the people, and stim- 
ulate them to cordial agreements to purchase none but certain 
enumerated articles ont of any of the stores, after a definite 
pwiod| and neither import, nor purchase any themselves. * * * 
I can see but (me class of people, the merchants excepted, who 
will not, or ought not, to wish well to the scheme,* — ^namely, they 
who live genteelly and hospitably on clear estates. Sudi as these, 
were thej not to consider the valuable object in view, and the 
good of others, might think it hard to be curtailed in their living 
and enjoymaita." 

This was precisely the class to which Washington belonged ; 
but he was ready and willing to make the sacrifices required. '^ I 
ibmk the scheme a good one," added he, '^ and that it ought to be 
foied here, with such alterations as our circumstances render ab* 
Bolutely necessary." 

Mason, in his reply, concurred with him in opinion. ** Our 
all is at sti^e," said he, ^' and the little conveniences and com- 
forts of life, when set in competition with our liberty, ought to 
be rejected, not with reluctance, but with pleasure. Yet it is 
plain that, in the tobacco colonies, we cannot at present confine 
our importations within such narrow bounds as the northern colo> 
nies. A plan of this kmd, to be practicable, must be adapted to 
our circimistances; for, if not steadily ^ecuted, it had bett^ 
have remained unattnnpted. We may retrench all manner of 
superfluities, finery oi all descriptions, and confine ourselves to 
linens, woollens, &a, not exceeding a certain price. It is amaz- 
ing how much this practice, if adopted in all the colonies, would 
lessen the American imports, and distress the vanous trades and 
manufactures of Great Britain. This would awaken their atten^ 
tion. They would see, they would feel, the oppressions we groan 

320 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. . [nft». 

tinder, and exert themselyes to procure ns redreas. This, onoe 
obtained, we shoold no longer discontinne onr importations, con- 
fining ourselves still not to import any article that should here- 
after be taxed by act of Parliament for raising a revenue in 
America ; far, however singular I may be in the opinion, / am 
thoroughly convinced^ that, justice and harmony happily re- 
stored j it is not the interest of these colonics to refuse British 
manufactures. Owr supplying our mother country vrith gross 
materials^ amd taking her mam,ufactwres in return^ is ihe trtie 
chain of connection between us. These are the hands vihick^ 
if not broken by oppression^ must long hold us together^ by 
maintaining a constant reciprocation of interested 

The latter part of the above quotation shows the spirit which 
actuated Washington and the friends of his confidence ; as yet 
there was no thought nor desire of alienation from the mother 
country, but only a fixed determination to be placed on an equali- 
ty of rights and privil^es with her other ch^dren. 

A single word in the passfige cited from Washington's letter, 

evinces the chord which still vibrated in the American bosom : 


he incidentally speaks of England as h^^fTie, It was the familiar 
term with which she was usually indicated by those of English 
descent ; and the writer of these pages remembers when the en- 
dearing phrase still lingered on Anglo-American lips even after 
the Bevolution. How easy would it have been before that era for 
the mother country to have rallied back the affections of her colo- 
nial children, by a proper attention to their complaints I Thej 
asked for nothing but what they were entitled to, and what she 
had taught them to prize as their dearest inheritance. The spirit 
of liberty which they manifested had been derived from her own 
precept and example. 

1769.] • LORD BOTETOURT. 821 

The result of the correspondence between Washington and 
Mason was the draft by the latter of a plan of association, the 
members of which were to pledge themselves not to import or nse 
any articles of British merchandise or manufacture subject to 
duty. This paper Washington was to submit to the consideration 
of the House of Burgesses, at the approaching session in the 
month of May. 

The Legislature of Virginia opened on this occasion with a 
brilliant pageant. While military force was arrayed to overawe 
the republican Puritans of the east, it was thought to dazzle the 
aristocratical descendants of the cavaliers by the reflex of regal 
splendor. Lord Botetourt, one of the king's lords of the bed- 
chamber, had recently come out as governor of the province. 
Junius described him as '< a cringing, bowing, fawning, sword- 
bearing courtier." Horace Walpole predicted that he would 
turn the heads of the Virginians in one way or other. '^ If his 
graces dodiot captivate them he will enrage them to fiiry ; for I 
take all Ms dwicewr to be enamelled on iron." * The words of 
political satirists and court wits, however, are always to be taken 
with great distrust. However his lordship may have bowed in 
presence of royalty, he elsewhere conducted himself with dignity, 
and won general favor by his endearing manners. He certainly 
showed promptness of spirit in his reply to the king on being in- 
formed of his appointment " When will you be ready to go ? " 
asked (Jeorge IIL " To-night, sir." 

He had come out, however, with a wrong idea of the Ameri- 
cans. They had been represented to him as factious, immoral, 
snd prone to sedition ; but vain and luxurious, and easily capti- 
vated by parade and splendor. The latter foibles were aimed at 

* Qrenyille papers, iT,^ note to p. 830. 
Vol. J.— 14* 

322 LIFB OF WASHINGTOK. • [17«9. 

in his appointment and fitting out. It was supposed that his 
titled rank would have its effect Then to prepare him for occsr 
sions of ceremony, a coach of state was presented to him by the 
king. He was allowed, moreover, the quantity of plate usually 
given to ambassadors, whereupon the joke was circulated thjEtt he 
was going " plenipo to the Cherokees." • 

His opening of the session was in the style of the royal open^ 
ing of Parliament He proceeded in due parade from' his dwell- 
ing to the capitol, in his state coach, drawn by six milk-white 
horses. Having delivered his speech according to royal form, he 
returned home with the same pomp and circumstance. 

The time had gone by, however, for such display to have the 
anticipated effect The Virginian legislators penetrated the iii^ 
tention of this pompous ceremonial, and regarded it with a de* 
preciating smile. Sterner matters occupied their thoughts ; they 
had come prepared to battle for their rights, and their proceed- 
ings soon showed Lord Botetourt how much he had mbtaken 
them. Spirited resolutions were passed, denouncing the recent 
act of Parliament imposing taxes ; the power to do which, on the 
inhabitants of this colony, '^was legally and constitutionally 
vested in the House of Burgesses, with consent of the council and 
of the king, or of his governor, for the time being." Copies of 
these resolutions were ordered to be forwarded by the speaker to 
the Legislatures of the other colonies, with a request for their 

Other proceedings of the Burgesses showed their sympathy 
mth. their fellow-patriots of New England. A joint address of 
both Houses of Parliament had recently been made to the king, 

• Whately to Geo. Grenville. Grenville papera. 

17«^.] ADDBE8S TO Tfi£ KING. 323 

assuring him of their support in any further measures for the 
due execution of the laws in Massachusetts, and beseeching him 
that all persons charged with treason, or misprision of treason, 
committed within that colony since the 30th of December, 1767, 
might be sent to Great Britain for trial. 

As Massachusetts had no General Assembly at this time, hay- 
ing been dissolyed by government, the Legislature of Yirguua 
generously took up the cause. An address to the king was re- 
solved on, stating, that all triahbfor treason, or misprision of trea- 
son, or for any crime whatever committed by any person residing 
in a colony, ought to be in and before his majesty's courts within 
said colony ; and beseeching the king to avert from his loyal sub- 
jects those dangers and miq^^ii which would ensue from seizing 
and carrying beyond sea any person residing in America suspected 
of any crime whatever, thereby depriving them of the inestimable 
privilege of being tried by a jury from the vicinage, as well as 
the liberty of producing witnesses on such trial. 

Disdaining any further implication to Parliament, the House 
ordered the speaker to tran%n|t this address to the colonies' 
agent in England, with directions to cause it to be presented to 
the king, and afterwards to be printed and published in the Eng- 
lish papers. 

Lord Botetourt was astonished and dismayed when he heard 
of these high-toned proceedings. Bepairing to the capitol on the 
following day at noon, he summoned the speaker and members to 
the council chamber, and addressed them in the following words : 
' Mr. Speaker, and gentlemen of the House of Burgesses, I have 
heard of your resolves,' and augur ill of their eflFects. You have 
made it my duty to dissolve you, and you are dissolved accord- 

324 lillE OF WASHINGTON. [17«». 

The spirit conjured up by the late decrees of Parliament was 
not so easily allayed. The Burgesses adjourned to a private 
house. . Peyton Randolph, their late speaker, was elected mod- 
erator. Washington now brought forward a draft of the articles 
of association, concerted between him and George Mason. They 
formed the groundwork of an instrument signed by all present, 
pledging themselves neither to import, nor use any goods, mer- 
chandise, or manufactures taxed by Parliament to raise a revenue 
in America. This instrument yfhs sent throughout the country 
for signature, and th« scheme of non-importation, hitherto con- 
fined to a few northern colonies, was soon universally adopted. 
For his own part, Washington adhered to it rigorously through- 
out the year. The articles proscribed by it were never to be 
seen in his house, and his agent in London was enjoined to ship 
nothing for him while subject to taxation. 

The popular ferment in Virginia was gradually allayed by 
the amiable and conciliatory conduct of Lord Botetourt. His 
lordship soon became aware of the erroneous notions with which 
he had entered upon office. His semi-royal equipage and state 
were laid aside. He examined into public grievances ; became a 
strenuous advocate for the repeal of taxes ; and, authorized by 
his despatches from the ministry, assured the public that sudi 
repeal would speedily take place. His assurance was received 
with implicit faith, and for a while Virginia was quieted. 



" Thb worst is past, and the spirit of sedition broken," writes 
Hood to Orenyille, early in the spring of 1769.* When the com- 
modore wrote this^ his ships were in the harbor, and troops occu- 
pied tiie town, and he flattered himself that at length turbulent 
Boston was quelled. But it only awaited its time to be seditious 
according to rule; there was always an irresistible ^' method in its 

In the month of May, the General Court, hitherto prorogued, 
met according to charter. A committee immediately waited on 
the governor, stating it was impossible to do business with dig- 
nity and freedom while the town was invested by sea and land, 
and a military guard was stationed at the state-house, with can- 
non pointed at the door ; and they requested the governor, as his 

* Grenville Papers, toL ill 

326 LIFE OF WA8HINQT0K. [1770. 

majesty's representatiye, to haye saoh forces removed oat of the 
port and gates of the city daring the session of the Assembly. 

The governor replied that he had no aathority over either the 
ships or troops. The coart persisted in refasing to transact basiness 
while so circamstanced, and the ^vemor was obliged to transfer 
the session to Cambridge. There he addressed a message to that 
body in July, reqairing funds for the payment of the troops, and 
quarters for their acconmiodation. The Assembly, after ample 
discussion of past grievances, resolved, that the establishment of 
a standing army in the colony in a time of peace was an invasion 
of natural rights; that a standing army was not known as a part 
of the British constitution, and that the sending an armed force 
to aid the civil authority was unprecedented, and highly danger- 
ous to the people. 

After waiting some days without receiving an answer to his 
message, the governor sent to know whether the Assend>ly would, 
or would not, make provision for the troops. In their reply, they 
followed the example of the Legislature of New Y<Mrk, in com- 
menting on the mutiny, or billeting act, and ended by declining 
to furnish funds for the purposes specified, '' being inc<Hnpatible 
with their own honor and interest, and their duty to their con* 
stituents.'' They were in consequence again prorogued, to meet 
in Bost(m on the 10th of January. 

So stood affairs in Massachusetts. In the mean time, the 
non-importation associations, being generally observed throu^out 
the colonies, produced the effect on British commerce which 
Washington had anticipated, and Parliament was incessantly im- 
portuned by petitions from British merchants, imploring its inter- 
vention to save them from ruin. 

Barly in 1770, an important change took place in the British 


177a] THE DUTY ON TBA. 327 

cabinet. The Doke of Grafton suddenly resigned, and the reins 
of goyemment passed into the hands of Lord NortL He was a 
man of limited capacity, bat a favorite of the king, and subser- 
vient to his narrow colonial policy. His administration, so event- 
ful to America, commenced with an error. In the month of 
March, an act was passed, revoking all the duties laid in 1767, 
excepting that on tea. This single tax was continued, as he ob- 
served, *' to maintain the parliamentary right of taxation," — ^the 
very right which was the grand object of contest. In this, how- 
ever, he was in fact yielding, against his better judgment, to the 
stubborn tenacity of the king. 

He endeavored to reconcile the opposition, and perhaps him- 
self, to the measure, by plausible reasoning. An impost of three- 
pence on the pound could never, he alleged, be opposed by the 
colonists, unless they were determined to rebel against Great 
Britain. Besides, a duty on that article, payable in England, 
and amounting to nearly one diilling on the pound, was taken off 
on its exportation to America, so that the inhabitants of the 
colonies saved ninepence on the pound. 

Here was the stumbling-block at the threshold of Lord 
North's administration. In vain the members of the opposition 
urged that this single exception, while it would produce no reve- 
nue, would keep alive the whole cause of contention ; that so long 
as a single external duty was enforced, the colonies would con- 
sider their rights invaded, and would remun unappeased. Lord 
North was not to be convinced; or rather, he knew the royal will 
was inflexible, and he complied with its behests. " The properest 
time to exert our right of taxation," said he, " is when the right 
is refused. To temporize is to yield ; and the authority of the 
mother country, if it is now unsupported, will be relinquished for 


ever : a total repeal cannot be thought ofy till America isjproS" 
trate at our feet?'* • 

On the very day in which this ominous bill was passed in 
Parliament, a sinister occurrence took place in Boston. Some 
of the young men of the place insulted the military while under 
arms ; the latter resented it ; the young men, after a scuffle, were ' 
put to flight, and pursued. The alarm bells rang, — a mob as- 
sembled ; the custom-hDuse was threatened ; the troops, in pro- 
tecting it, were assailed with clubs and stones, and obliged to use 
their fire-arms, before the tumult could be quelled. Four of the 
populace were killed, and several wounded. The troops were 
now removed from the town, which remained in the highest state 
of exasperation; and this untoward occurrence received the 
opprobrious, and somewhat extravagant name of '^ the Boston 

The colonists, as a matter of convenience, resumed the con- 
sumption of those articles on which the duties had been repealed; 
but continued, on principle, the rigorous disuse of tea, excepting 
such as had been smuggled in. New England was particularly 
earnest in the matter ; many of the inhabitants, in the spirit of 
their Puritan progenitors, made a covenant to drink no more of 
the forbidden beverage, until the duty on tea should be repealed. 

In Virginia the public discontents, which had been allayed by 
the conciliatoiy conduct of Lord Botetourt, and by his assurances, 
made on the strength of letters received from the ministry, that 
the grievances complained of would be speedily redressed, now 
broke out with more violence than ever. The Virginians spumed 
the mock-remedy which left the real cause of complaint untouched. 

• HolmeB'6 Amer. AniuJs, vol ii, p. 178. 


His lordship also felt deeply woonded bjthe dising^uonaness 
of ministers whidi had led him into such a predicament, and 
wrote home demanding his discharge. Before it arriyed, an at- 
tack of bilious fever, acting upon a delicate and sensitive frame, 
enfeebled by anxiety and chagrin, laid him in his grave. He left 
behind him a name endeared to the Virginians by his amiable 
manners, his liberal patronage of the arts, and, above all, by his 
zealous intercession for their rights. Washii\gt<m himself testifies 
that he was inclined '< to render every just and reasonable service 
to the people whom he governed." A statue to his memory was 
decreed by the House of Burgesses, to be erected in the area of 
the capitoL It is still to be seen, though in a mutilated con^ 
dition, in Williamsburg, the old seat of government, and a county 
in Virginia continues to bear his honored name. 





Ik the midst of these popular turmoils, Washington was in- 
duced, by public as well as private considerations, to make 
another expedition to the Ohio. He was one of the Yirginift 
Board of Commissioners, appointed, at the close of the late 
war, to settle the military accounts of the colony. Among the 
claims which came before the board, were those of tiie officers 
and soldiers who had engaged to serye until peace, under the 
proclamation of Governor Dinwiddle, holding forth a bounty (^ 
two hundred thousand acres of land, to be apportioned among 
them according to rank Those claims were yet unsatisfied, for 
governments, like individuals, are slow to pay off in peaceful 
times the debts incurred while in the fighting mood. Washing- 
ton became, the champion of those claims, and an opportunity 
now presented itself for their liquidation. The Six Nations, by 
a treaty in 1768, had ceded to the British crown, in oonsidertp 
tion of a sum of money, all the lands possessed by diem south of 


the Obio. Land offices would soon be opened for the sale of 
them. Squatters and speculators were already preparing to 
swarm in, set up their marks on the choicest spots, and establish 
what were called preemption rights. Washington determined 
at once to visit the lands thus ceded ; affix his mark on such 
tracts as he should select, and apply for a grant ^m government 
in behalf of the ^'soldier's claim." 

The expedition would be attended with some degree of dan- 
ger. The frontier was yet in an uneasy state. It is true some 
time had elapsed since the war of Pontiac, but some of the In- 
dian tribes were almost ready to resume the hatdiet. The Dela- 
wares, Shawnees, and Mingoes, complained that the Six Nations 
had not given them their full share of the consideration money 
of the late sale, and they talked of exacting the deficiency from 
the white m«[i who came to settle in what had been their hunting- 
grounds. Traders, squatters, and other adventurers into the wil- 
derness, were occasionally murdered, and further troubles were 

Washington had for a companion in this expedition his Mend 
and neighbor, Dr. Oraik, and it was with strong community of 
fedii^ they looked forward peaceably to revisit the scenes of 
tiieir military experience. They set out on the 5th of October 
with three negro attendants, two belonging to Washington, and 
one to the doctor. The whole party was mounted, and there was 
a led horse for the baggage. 

After twelve days' travelling they arrived at Fort Pitt (late 
Fort Buquesne). It was garrisoned by two companies of royal 
Irish, commanded by a Captain EdmonsoiL A hamlet of about 
twenty log-houses, inhabited by Indian traders, had sprung up 
within three hundred yards of the fort, and was called <^ the town.'' 


It was the embryo city of Pittsburg, now so populous. At one 
of the houses, a tolerable frontier inn, they took up their quai^ 
ters ; but during their brief sojourn, they were entertained with 
great hospitality at the fort. 

Here at dinner Washington met his old acquaintance, George 
Croghan, who had figured in so many capacities and experienced 
so many vicissitudes on the frontier. He was now Colond 
Oroghan, deputy-agent to Sir William Johnson, and had his resi- 
dence — or seat, as Washington terms it — on the banks of ^e 
Allegany Eiver, about four miles from the fort. 

Oroghan had experienced troubles and dangers during ihe 
Pontiac war, both from white man and savage. At one time, 
while he was convoying presents from Sir William to ihe Dela- 
wares and Shawnees, his caravan was set upon and plundered by 
a band of backwoodsmen of Pennsylvania — men resembling In- 
dians in garb and habits, and fully as lawless. At anotiier time, 
when encamped at the mouth of the Wabash with some of his 
Indian allies, a band of Kickapoos, supposing the latter to be 
Oherokees, their deadly enemies, rushed forth from the woods 
with horrid yells, shot down several of his companions, and 
wounded himsel£ It must be added, that no white men could 
have made more ample apolo^es than did the Kickapoos, when 
they discovered that they had fired upon friends. 

Another of Croghan's perils was from the redoubtable Pon- 
tiac himself. That chiefta^ had heard of his being on a mi/»ion 
to win oS, by dint of presents, the other sachems of the conspi- 
racy, and declared, significantly, that he had a large kettle boiling 
in which he intended to seethe the ambassador. It was fortunate 
for Oroghan that he did not meet with the formidable chieftain 
while in this exasperated mood. He subsequently encountered 


him when Pontiac's spirits were broken by reveises. They 
smoked the pipe of peace together, and the colonel claimed the 
credit of haying, by his diplomacy, persuaded the sachem to boiy 
the hatchet 

On the day following the repast at the fort, Washington 
visited Cro^ian at his abode on the Allegany Biver, where he 
found several of the chiefs of the Six Nations assembled. One 
of them, the White Mingo by name, made him a speech, accom- 
panied, as usual, by a belt of wampum. Some of his compan- 
ions, he said, remembered to have seen him in 1753, when he 
came on his embassy to the French commander ; most of them 
had heard of him. They had now come to welcome him to their 
country. They wished the people of Virginia to consider them 
as friends and brothers, linked together in one chain, and 
requested him to inform the governor of their desire to live in 
peace and harmony with the white men. As to certain unhappy 
differences which had taken place between them on the frontiers, 
they were all made up, and, they hoped, forgotten. 

Washington accepted the '< speech-belt," and made a suitable 
reply, assurbg the chiefs that nothing was more desired by the 
people of Virginia than to live with them on terms of the strict- 
est friendship. 

At Pittsburg the travellers left their horses, and embarked in 
a large canoe, to make a voyage down the Ohio as far as the 
Great Kanawha. • Colonel Oroghan engaged two Indians for their 
service, and an interpreter named John Nicholson. The colonel 
and some of the officers of the garrison accompanied them as far 
as Logstown, the scene of Washington's early diplomacy, and 
his first interview with the half-king. Here they breakfasted 
together ; after which they separated, the colonel and his com- 


panions eheermg tibe voyagers firom the shore, as the canoe imh 
borne off by the current of the beaatiful Ohio. 

It was now the hunting season, when the Indians leave their 
towns, set off with their families, and lead a roving life in 
cabins and hunting-camps along the river ; shifting firom place to 
place, as game abounds or decreases, and often extending their 
migrations two or three hundred miles down the stream. The 
women were as dexterous as the men in the management of the 
canoe, but were generallj engaged in the domestic labors of the 
lodge while their husbands were abroad huniing. 

Washington's propensities as a sportsman had here full play. 
Deer were continually to be seen coming down to the water's 
edge to drink, or browsing along the shore ; there were innumer- 
able flocks of wild turkeys, and streaming flights of ducks and 
geese ; so that as the voyagers floated along, they were enabled 
to load their canoe with game. At night they encamped on ihe 
river bank, lit their fire and made a sumptuous hunter's repast. 
Washington always relished this wild- wood life ; and the present 
had that spice of danger in it, which has a peculiar charm for 
adventurous minds. The great object of his expedition, %owever| 
is evinced in his constant notes on the features and character of 
the country; the quality of the soil as indicated by "tibe nature 
of the trees, and the level tracts fitted for settlements. 

About seventy-five miles below Pittsburg the voyagers 
landed at a Mingo town, which Hkej found in a stir of warlike 
preparation — sixty of the warriors being about to set off on a 
foray into the Cherokee country against the Oatawbas. 

Here the voyagers were brought to a pause by a report that 
two white men, traders, had been murdered about thirty-eight 
miles further down the river. Beports of the kind were not to 

i7ta] kiashuta's hunting camp. 336 

be treated lightly. Indian faith was uncertain along ^e frontier, 
and white men were often shot down in the wilderness for plun- 
der or revenge. On the following day the report moderated. 
Only one man was said to have been killed, and that not by In- 
dians ; so Washington determined to continue forward until he 
could obtain correct information in the matter. 

On the 24th, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the voyagers 
arrived at Oaptema Oreek, at the mouth of which the trader was 
said to have been killed. As all was quiet and no one to be seen, 
they agreed to encamp, while Nicholson the interpreter, aUd one 
of the Indians, repaired to a village a few miles up the creek to 
inquire about the murder. They found but two old women at 
the village. The men were all absent, hunting. The interpreter 
returned to camp in the evening, bringing the truth of the mur- 
derous tale. A trader had fallen a victim to his temerity, hav- 
ing been drowned in attempting, in company with another, to 
swim his horse across the Ohio. 

Two days more of voyaging brought them to an Indian hunt- 
ing camp, near the mouth of the Muskingum. Here it was 
necessary to land and make a ceremonious visit, for the chief of 
the hunting party was Kiashuta, a Seneca sachem, the head of 
the river tribes. He was noted to have been among the first to 
raise the hatchet in Pontiac's conspiracy, and almost equally vin- 
dictive with that potent warrior. As Washington approached 
the chieftain, he recognized him for one of the Indians who had 
accompanied him on his mission to the French in 1753. 

Kiashuta retained a perfect recollection of the youthful am- 
bassador, though seventeen years had matured him into thought- 
ful manhood. With hunter's hospitality he gave him a quarter 
of a (me buffalo just slain, but insisted that they should encamp 


together for the night ; and in order not to retard him, moved 
with his own party to a good camping place some distance down 
the river. Here they had long talks and cooncil-fires over night 
and in the morning, with all the *' tedious ceremony," says Wash- 
ington, ''which the Indians observe in their counsellings and 
speeches." Kiashuta had heard of what had passed between 
Washington and the ''White Mingo," and other sachems, at 
Colonel Oroghan's, and was eager to express his own desire for 
peace and firiendship with Yirginia, and fair dealings with her 
traders ; all which Washington promised to report faithfully to 
the governor. It was not until a late hour in the morning that 
he was enabled to bring tliese conferences to a close, and pursue 
his voyage. 

At the mouth of the Great Kanawha the voyagers encamped 
for a day or two to examine the lands in the neighborhood, and 
Washington set up his mark upon such as he intended to claim 
on behalf of the soldiers' grant. It was a fine sporting country, 
having small lakes or grassy ponds abounding with water-fowl, 
such as ducks, geese, and swans. Flocks of turkeys, as usual ; 
and, for larger game, deer and buffalo; so that their camp 
abounded with provisions. 

Here Washbgton was visited by an old sachem, who ap- 
proached him with great reverence, at the head of several of his 
tribe, and addressed him through Nicholson, the interpreter. 
He had heard, he said, of his being in that part of the country, 
and had come firom a great distance to see him. On further dis- 
course, the sachem made known that he was one 0f the warriors 
in the service of the French, who lay in ambush on the banks of 
the Monongahela and wrought such havoc in Braddock^s army. 
He declared that he and his young men had singled out Wiping- 


ton, as he m%de himself oonspieaoos riding about the field of bat- 
tle with the general's orders, and had fired at him repeatedly, but 
without success ; whence they had concluded that he was under 
ihe protection of the Great Spirit, had a charmed life, and eould 
not be slain in battle. 

At the Great Kanawha Washington's expedition down the 
Ohio terminated; haying visited all the points he wished to ex- 
amine. His return to Fort Pitt, and thence homeward, affords 
no incident worthy of note. The whole expedition, however, was 
one of that hardy and adventurous kind, mingled with practical 
purposes, in which he delighted. This winter voyage down the 
Ohio in a canoe, with the doctor for a companion and two Indians 
for cr^, through regions yet insecure from the capricious hos- 
tility of prowling savages, is not one of the least striking of his 
frontier ^' experiences.'' The hazardous nature of it was made 
apparent shortly afterwards by another outbreak of the Ohio 
tribes; one of its bloodiest actions took place on the very banks 
of the Great Kanawha, in which Colonel Lewis and a number of 
brave Virginians lost their lives. 


In the final adjustment of claims under Governor Dinwiddle's pro- 
clamation, Washington, acting on behalf of the officers and soldiers, 
obtained grants for the knds he had marked out in the course of his 
Vint to the Ohio. Fifteen thousand acres were awarded to a field- 
officer, nine thousand to a captain, six thousand to a subaltern, and so 
on. Among the claims which he entered were those of Stobo and 
Yan Braam, the hostages in the ci^itolation at the Great Meadows. 
After many vicisdtudes they were now in London, and nine thousand 
acres were awarded to each of them. Their domains were ultimately 
purchased by Washington through his London agent. 

Another claimant was Oolonel G^eorge Muse, Washington's early 
instructor in military science. Qis daim w^ admitted with difficulty, 

Voi^ 1,-15 


fbr he stood accused of haying acted the part of a poltroon in the 
campaign, and Washington seems to have considered the charge well 
founded. Still he appears to have been dissatisfied with the share of 
land assigned him, and to have written to Washington somewhat 
mdelj on the subject. His letter is not extant, bnt we subjoin Wash- 
ington's reply almost entire, as a specimen of the caustic pen he could 
wield under a mingled emotion of scorn and indignation. 

"Sir, — ^Your impertinent letter was deliyered to me yesterday. 
As I am not accustomed to receive such fh)m any man, nor would have 
taken the same language from you personally, without letting you feel 
some marks of my resentment, I advise you to be cautious in writing 
me a second of the same tenor; for though I understand you were 
drunk when you did it, yet give me leave to tell you that drunken- 
ness is no excuse for rudeness. But for your stupidity and sottishnesa 
you might have known, by attending to the public gazette, that you 
had your full quantity of ten thousand acree of land allowed you; 
that is, nine thousand and seventy-three acres in the great tflct, and 
the remainder in the small tract. 

*^ But suppose you had really fallen short, do you think your su- 
perlative merit entitles you to greater indulgence than others ? Or, 
if it did, that I was to make it good to you, when it was at the option 
of the governor and council to allow but five hundred acres in the 
whole, if they had been so indjned ? If either of these should happen 
to be your opinion, I am very well convinced that you will be singu- 
lar in it ; and all my concern is that I ever engaged myself in behalf 
of so ungrateM and dirty a feUow as you are.*' 

N. B. — The above is from the letter as it exists in the archives of 
the Department of State at Washington. It diflbrs in two or three 
particulars from that published among Washington's writings. 



Thb disoemtents of Virginia, wliioh had been partially soothed by 
the amiable administration of Lord Botetourt, were irritated anew 
under his successor, the Earl of Donmore. This nobleman had 
for a short time held the government of New York. Whmi ap- 
pointed to that of Virginia, he lingered for several months at his 
former post. In the mean time, he sent his military secretary, 
Captain Foy, to attend to the despatch of business until his arri- 
val ; awarding to him a salary and fees to be paid by the colony. 

The pride of the Virginians was piqued at his lingering at 
New York, as if he preferred its gayety and luxury to the com- 
parative quiet and simplicity of Williamsburg. Their pride was 
still more piqued on his arrival, by what they considered haughti- 
ness on hb part. The spirit of the " Ancient Dominion '' was 
roused, and his lordship experienced opposition at his very outset 

The first measure of the Assembly, at its opening, was to de- 
mand by what right he had awarded a salary and fees to his sec- 


retarj without oonsolting it; and to question whether it was 
authorised by the orown. 

His lordship had the good policy to rescind the unauthorized 
act, and in so doing mitigated the ire of the Assembly \ but he 
lost no time in proroguing a body, which, from various symptoms, 
appeared to be too independent, and disposed to be untractable. 

He oontinued to prorogue it from time to time, seeking in the 
interim to conciliate the Virginians, and soothe their irritated 
pride. At length, after repeated prorogations, he was compelled 
by circumstances to convene it on the 1st of March, 1773. 

Washington was prompt in his attendance on the occasion; 
and foranost among the patriotic members, who eagerly availed 
themselves of this long wished for opportunity to legislate upon 
the general affairs of the colonies. One of their most important 
measures was the appointment of a committee of eleven persons, 
" whose business it should be to obtain the most clear and au- 
thentic intelligence of all such acts and resolutions of the British 
Parliament, or proceedings of administration, as may relate to or 
affect the British colonies, and to maintain with their sister colo- 
nies a correspondence and communication." 

The plan thus proposed by their " noble, patriotic sister ool- 
ony of Yir^nia," * was promptly adopted by the people of Massa* 
ohusetts, and soon met with general concurrence. These corres- 
ponding committees, in effect, became the executive power of ihe 
patriot party, producing the happiest concert of design and action 
throughout the colonies. 

Notfrithstanding the decided part taken by Washington in 
the popular movement, very friendly relations existed between 

* BoBtou Town Becords. 


him and Lord Donmore. The Utter appreciated his charaoteri 
and sought to avail himself of his experience in the affidrs of the 
province. It was even concerted that Washington should accom- 
pany his lordship on an extensive tour, wliich the latter intended 
to make in the conrse of the summer along ike western fron- 
tier. A melancholy circumstance occnrred to defeat this ar- 

We have spoken of Washingtcm^s paternal conduct towards the 
two children of Mrs. Washington. The daughter, Miss Oustis, 
had long been In object of extreme solicitude. She was of a fra- 
gile constitution, and for some time past had been in very declin- 
ing health. Early in the jHresent summer, symptoms indicated a 
rapid change for the worse. Washington was absent from home 
at the time. On his return to Mount Yemon, he found her in 
the last stage of consumption. 

Thou^ not a man given to bursts of sensibility, he is said on 
the present occasion to have evinced the deepest affliction ; kneel- 
ing by her bedside, and pouring out earnest prayers for her 
recovery. She expired on the 19th of June, in the sevoiteenth 
year of her age. This, of course, put an end to Washington's in- 
tention of accompanying Lord Dunmore to the frontier; he re- 
mained at home to console Mrs. Washington in her affiction,^ 
famishing his lordship, however, with travelling hints and direc- 
tions, and recommending proper guides. And here we will take 
occasion to give a' few brief particulars of domestic a&irs at 
Mount Vernon. 

For a long time previous to the death of Miss Oustis, her 
mother, despairing of her recovery, had centred her hopes in her 
son, John Parke Custis. This rendered Washington's guardian- 
ship of him a delicate and difficult task. He was lively,^suscep- 

842 UFB OF WASHINGTOK. (17781 

tible, and impolfliTe; had an independent fortune in his own 
right, and an indulgent mother, ever ready to plead in his behalf 
agamst wholesome discipline. He had been plaoed under the 
care and instruction of an Episcopal clergyman at Annapolis, but 
was occasionally at home, mounting his horse, and taking a part, 
while yet a boy, in the fox-hunts at Mount Yemon. His educa^ 
tion had consequently been irregular and imperfect, and not such 
as Washington would have enforced had he possessed oyer him 
the absolute authority of a fother. Shortly after ^e return of 
the latter from his tour to the Ohio, he was conoeraed to find thai 
there was an idea entertained of sending the lad abroad, though 
but little more than sixteen years of age, to travel under the care 
of his clerical tutor. Through his judicious interference, the 
trayeUing scheme was postponed, and it was resolved to give the 
young gentleman's mind the benefit of a little preparatory home 

Little more than a year elapsed before the sallying impulses 
of the youth had taken a new direction. He was in love ; what 
was more, he was engaged to the object of his passion, and on the 
high road to matrimony. 

Washington now opposed himself to premature marriage as 
he had done to jHremature travel A correspondence ensued be* 
tween him and the young lady's fiither, Benedict Oalvert, Esq. 
The match was a satisfactory one to all parties, but it was agreed, 
that it was expedient for the youth to pass a year or two pre^ 
viously at college. Washington aocordiogly accompanied him to 
New York, and plaoed him under the care of the Bev. Dr. 
Gooper, president of King's (now Columbia) College, to pursue 
his studies in that institution. All this occurred before ihe 
death of his sister. Within a year after that melancholy event, 


he became impatient for a tmion with the object of his choice. 
His mother, now more indulgent than ever to this, her only 
ehild, yielded her consent, and Washington no longer m^uie oppo- 

^' It has been against my wishes," writes the latter to Presi- 
dent Oooper, " that he should quit college in order that he may 
soon enter into a new scene of life, which I think he would be 
much fitter for some years hence than now. But haying his 
own inclination, the desires of his mother, and the acquiescence 
of almost all his relatiyes to encounter, I did not care, as he is 
the last of the &mily, to push my opposition too far ; I hayCi 
therefore, submitted to a kind of necessity." 

The marriage was celebrated on the 3d of February, 1774, 
before the bridegroom was twenty-one years of age. 


We are induced to subjoin extracts of two letters from Washington 

relatiye to young Oustis. The first ^yes his objections to premature 

trayel; the second to premature matrimony. Both are worthy of 

consideration in this country, where our young people haye such a 

general disposition to ^^go ahead." 

To the reoerend Jonathan Boucher (the tutor of young Ouetie). 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ «i oamiot help giying it as my opinion^ that 
his education, howeyer adyanoed it may be for a youth of his 
age, is by no means ripe enough for a trayelling tour ; not that I 
think his becoming a mere scholar is a desirable education for a gen- 
tleman, but I conoeiye a knowledge of books is the basis upon which 
all other knowledge is to be built, and in trayelling he is to become 
acquainted with men and things, rather than books. At present, 
howeyer well yersed he may be in the principles of the Latin language 
(which is not to be wondered at, as he began the study of it as soon 
as he could q>eak), he is unacquainted with seyeral of the classio 
authors that might be useM to him. He is ignorant of Greek, the 

344 LIF£ OF WASHINaTOH. [177S. 

advantages of learning wMcli I do not pretend to Judge of; and hm 
knows nothing of French, which is absolutely neoessary to him as a 
traveller. He has little or no acquaintance with arithmetio, and is 
totally ignorant of the mathematics — than which, at least, so much 
of them as relates to surveying, nothing can be more ess^itially 
necessary to any man possessed of a large landed estate, the bounds <^ 
some part or other of which are always in controversy. Now 
whether he has time between this and next spring to acquire a suffi* 
cient knowledge of these studies, I leave you to Judge; as, also^ 
whether a boy of seventeen years M (which will be his age next No- 
vember), can have any Just notions of the end and design of travel- 
ling. I have already ^ven it as my opinion that it would be 
precipitating this event, unless he were to go immediately to the 
university for a couple of yean ; in which case he could see nothing 
of America ; which might be a disadvantage to him, as it is to be 
expected that every man, who travels with a view of observing the 
laws and customs of other countries, should be able to give some 
description of the situation and govemm^t of his own.^' 

The following are extracts from the letter to Benedict Oalverti 
Esq., the young lady's &ther : 

^' I write to you on a subject of importance, and of no small em- 
barrassment to me. My son-in-law and ward, Mr. Oustis, has, as I 
have been informed, paid his addresses to your second dau^ter ; and 
having made some progress in her affections, has soUoited her in maz^ 
liage. How £eu* a union of this sort may be agreeable to you, yon 
best can tell; but I should think myself wanting in oai^or, were I 
not to confess that Mss Nelly's andable qualities are acknowledged 
on all hands, and that an alliance with your family will be pleasing 
to his. 

^* This acknowledgment being made, you must permit me to add, 
sir, that at this, or in any short time, his youth, inexperience, and 
unripened education are, and will be, insuperable obstacles, In my 
opinion, to the completion of the marriage. As his guardian, I con- 
ceive it my indispensable duty to endeavor to carry him through a 
regular oourse of education (many branches of which, I am sorry 
to say, he is totally deficient in), and to guide his youth to a more 
advanced age, before an event, on which his own peace and the hap- 
piness of another are to depend, takes place. * * * U the affoo- 

1778.] SABLY HABRIAaE. 345 

tion which th^ have avowed for each other is fixed upon a solid 
basis, it will receive no diminution in the oonrse of two or three 
years; in which time he may prosecute his studies, and thereby 
render himself more deserving of the lady, and useful to society. If, 
unfortunately, as they are both young, there should be an abatement 
of affection on either dde, or both, it had better precede than follow 

^' Delivering my sentiments thus freely, wiQ not, I hope, lead you 
. into a belief that I am desirous of breaking off the match. To post- 
pone it is all I have in view ; for I shall recommend to the young 
gentleman, with the warmth that becomes a man of honor, to con- 
sider himself as much engaged to your daughter, as if the indissolu- 
ble knot were tied ; and as the surest means of effecting this, to 
apply himself closely to his studies, by which he will, in a great 
measure, avoid those little flirtations with other young ladies, that 
may, by dividing the attention, contribute not a little to divide the 

Vol. L-15* 





Thb general covenant throughout the colonies againBt the use of 
taxed tea, had operated disastrously against the interests of the 
East India Company, and produced an immense accumulation of 
the proscribed article in their warehouses. To remedy this, Lord 
North brought in a bill (1773), by which the company were al- 
lowed to export their teas from England to any part whatever, 
without paying export duty. This, by enabling them to offer their 
teas at a low price in the colonies would, he supposed, tempt the 
Americans to purchase large quantities, thus relieving the com* 
pany, and at the same time benefiting the revenue by the iii^[K)st 
duty. Confiding in the wisdom of this policy, the compuiy dis- 
gorged their warehouses, frei^ted several ships with tea, and 
sent ihem to various parts of Uie colonies. This brought matters 


to a orifiis. One sentiment, one determination, per?aded the 
whole oontinent. Taxation was to receive its definitiye blow 
Whoever submitted to it was an enemy to his oonntrj. From 
New York and Philadelphia the ships were sent back, onladen, to 
London. In Charleston the tea was unloaded, and stored away 
in cellars and other places, where it perished. At Boston the 
action was still more decisive. The ships anchored in the harbor. 
Some small parcels of tea were brought on shore, but the sale of 
them was prohibited. The captains of the ships, seeing the des- 
perate state of the case, would have made sail back for England, 
but they could not obtain the consent of the consignees, a clearance 
at the custom-house, or a passport from the governor to clear the 
fort It was evident, the tea was to be forced upon the people 
of Boston, and the principle of taxation established. 

To settle the matter completely, and prove that, on a point 
of principle, they were not to be trifled with, a number of the in- 
habitants, disguised as Indians, boarded the ships in the night 
(18th December), broke open all the chests of tea, and emptied 
<^e contents into the sea. This was no rash and intemperate pro- 
ceeding of a mob, but the well-considered, though resolute act of 
sober, respectable citizens, men of reflection, but determination. 
The whole was done calmly, and in perfect order; after which 
the actors in the scene dispersed without tumult, and returned 
quietly to their homes. 

The general opposition of the colonies to the principle of tax- 
ation had given great annoyance to government, but this individ- 
ual aet concentrated all its wrath upon Boston. A bill was forth- 
with passed in Parlnunent (commonly called the Boston port 
bill), by which all lading and unlading of goods, wares, and mer- 
cjiandise, were to cease in'that^own and harbor, on and after the 


Aih of June, and the offioers of the ooitoiiui to be tranaferred io 

Another law, pasaed aoon after, altered tiie ohairter of the 
pro?iBoe, deoredog that all comiseUoray jodgea, and magiatratefl, 
ihonld be aj^inbed bj the crown, and hold office daring the royal 

This was followed by a third, inte»ded for the anppreaoon of 
riots; and providing that any person indicted for murder, or odier 
eajatal offianoe, committed in aiding the magiatraoy, might be 
aent by the goremor to some othor colony, or to Great Britun, 
for triaL 

Snch was the bolt of Parliamentary wrath folminated agunst 
the devoted town of Boston. Before it fell there was a session 
in May, of the "Virginia Hoose of Burgesses. The social posi- 
tion of Lord Donmore had been str^igthened in the province by 
the arrival of his lady, and a nmn^roiis family of sons and daugh- 
ters. The old Virginia aristocracy had vied with eaeh oHier in 
hospitable attentions to the family. A court circle had q)mng 
vp. Begnlations had been drawn up by a herald, and published 
officially, determining the rank and precedence of civil and mili- 
tary officers, and their wives. The aristocracy of the Ancient 
Dominion was forbishing up its former q)lendor. Oarriages and 
four rdled iato the streets of Williamsbnig, with horses hand- 
somely caparisoned, bringing the wealthy planters and their 
fisunilies to the seat of government. 

Washington arrived in Williamsbuig on the IGth, and dbied 
with the governor on Hke day of his arrival, having a dis- 
tingnidied positkm in tibe court oirde^ and being still ontenns of 
intimacy with his brdship. The House of Burgesses was opened 
in form, and one <^ its first measures was an address of eon- 


gratuIfttidB to tlie gotemor, on the arriTal of his lady. It was 
followed up by an agreement among the members to ^re her 
ladyship a i^lendid ball, <m the 271^ of the month. 

All ihings were going on smoothly and smilingly, when a let- 
ter, received throagh the corresponding committee, bronght in- 
telligenoe of the rindiotiYe measure of Parliament, by which the 
port of Boston was to be closed on the approaching Ist of June. 

The letter was read in the House of Burgesses, and produced 
a general burst of iadignation. All other business was thrown 
aside, and this became the sole subject of discussion. A protest 
against this and other recent acts of Parliament was entered upon 
the journal of the House, and a resolution was adopted, on the 
24 th of May, setting apart the 1st of June as a day of fasting, 
prayer, and humiliation ; in which the divine interposition was to 
be implored, to avert the heavy calamity threatening destruetion 
to their rights, and all the evils of civil war; and to give the 
people one heart and one mind in firmly opposing every injury to 
American liberties. 

On the following morning, while the Burgesses were engaged 
in animated debate, they were summoned to attend Lord Dun- 
more in the council chamber, where he made them the fbUowing 
laconic speech : ** Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of 
Burgesses : I have in my hand a paper, published by order of 
your House, conceived in such terms, as reflect highly upon his 
majesty, and the Parliament of Great Britain, which makes it 
necessary for me to dissolve you, and you are dissolved accord- 
. As on a former occasion, the AssemMyi though dissolved, was 
not dispersed. The members adjourned to the long room of th« 
old Raleigh tavern, and passed resoluticHis, denounoing the Bos^ 

350 LIFE OF WA8HIKGT0K. [17^4. 

ton port bill as a moBt dangerous attempt to destroy the oonsdtn- 
tional liberty and rights of all North Amerioa ; reoonunending 
their coontrymen to desist from the nse, not merely of tea, bat 
of all kinds of East Indian commodities ; prononnoing an attack 
on one of the colonies, to enforce arbitrary taxes, an attack on all ; 
and ordering the committee of correspondence to communicate 
with the other corresponding committees, on the expediency of 
appointing deputies from the several colonies of British America, 
to meet annually in Gbstbbal Congrbss, at such place as might 
be deemed expedient, to deliberate on such measures as the 
united interests of the colonies might require. 

This was the first recommendation of a General Oongress by 
any public assembly, though it had been previously proposed in 
town meetings at New York and Boston. A resolution to the 
same effect was passed in the Assembly of Massachusetts before 
it was aware of the proceedings of the Virginia Legislature. The 
measure recommended met with prompt and general concurrence 
throughout the colonies, and the fifth day of September next en- 
suing was fixed upon for the meeting of the first Congress, which 
was to be held at Philadelphia. 

NotwiUistanding Lord Dunmore's abrupt dissolution of the 
House of Burgesses, the members still continued on courteous 
terms with hhn, and the ball which they had decreed early in the 
session in honor of Lady Dunmore, was celebrated on the 27tii 
with unwavering gallantry. 

As to Washington, widely as he differed from Lord Dunmore 
on important points of policy, his intimacy with him rraciained 
uninterrupted. By memorandums in his diary it appears that he 
dined and passed the evening at his lordship's on the 25ih, the 
very day of the meeting at the Baleigh tavern. That he rode 


out with him to his fluiD, and breakfasted there with him on the 
26th, and on the eyening of the 27th attended the ball given to 
her ladyshipk Soch was the well-bred deoorum that seemed to 
qniet the torbnlence of popular excitement, without checking the 
full and firm expression of popilar opinion. 

Qn the 29th, two days after the ball, letters arriyed from 
Boston giying the proceedings of a town meeting, recommending 
that a general league should be formed throu^out the colonies 
suspending all trade with Great Britain. But twenty-fiye mem- 
bers of the late House of Burgesses, including Washington, were 
at that time remaining in Williamsburg. They held a meeting 
on the following day, at which Peyton Randolph presided as 
moderator. After some discussion it was determined to issue a 
printed circular, bearing their signatures, and calling a meeting 
of all the members of the late House of Burgesses, on the 1st of 
August, to take into consideration this measure of a general 
league. The circular recommended them, also, to collect, in the 
mean time, the sense of their respectiye counties. 

Washington was still at Williamsburg on the 1st of June, the 
day when the port bill was to be enfiorced at Boston. It was 
ushered in by the tolling of bells, and obseryed by all true patri- 
ots as a day of fasting and humiliation. ifWashington notes in his 
diaiy that he fasted rigidly, and attended the sendees appcnnted 
in the church. Still his friendly intercourse with the Dunmore 
family was continued during the remainder of his sojourn in Wil- 
liamsburg, where he was detained by business until the 20th, 
when he set out on his return to Mount Yemon. 

In the mean time the Boston port lull had been carried into 
effect. On the 1st of June the harbor of Boston was closed at 
noon, and all business ceased, ^he two other parliamentary acts 


altering the diarter of MaasachnflettB were to be enforoed. No 
pnblio meeiiiigB, excepting the annual town meetingB in Maroh 
and May, were to be held without permission of the govemor. 

General Thomas Ghige had recently been appointed to the 
military command of Massachusetts, and the carrying out of these 
offensive acts. He was the same officer who, as lieutenant-colonel, 
had led the advance guard on the field of Braddook's defeat 
Fortune had since gone well with him. Rising in the service, he 
had been governor of Montreal, and had succeeded Amherst in 
the command of the British forces on this continent He was 
linked to the countiy also by domestic ties, having married into 
one of the most respectable families of New Jersey. In the va- 
rious situations in which he had hitherto been placed he had won 
esteem, and rendered himself popular. Not much was expected 
from him in his present post by those who knew him well Wil- 
liam Smith, the historian, speaking of him to Adams, '^ Ghige,** 
said he, *' was a good-natured, peaceable, sociable man while here 
(in New York), but altogether unfit for a governor of Massachu- 
setts. He will lose all the character he has acquired as a man, a 
gentleman, and a general, and dwindle down into a mere scrib- 
bling governor — a mere Bernard or Hutchinson." 

With aU Ghige's exp#ience in America, he had formed a most 
erroneous opinion of the character of the people. *' The Ameri- 
cans," said he to the king, *< will be lions only as long as the 
English are lambs;" and he engaged, with five regiments, to 
keep Boston quiet 1 

The manner in which his attempts to enforce the recent acts 
of Parliament were resented, showed how egregiously he was in 
error. At the suggestion of the Assembly, a paper was oirca> 
lated through the province by £he committee of correspondence, 


entitled " a solemn league and covenant," the snbBcriberfl to -wkkh. 
bound themselyes to break off all interoonrse with Great Britain 
from the 1st of August, nntil the colony should be restored to the 
enjoyment of its chartered rights ; and to renounce all dealings 
with those who should refuse to enter into this compact 

The very title of league and coyenant had an onunous sound, 
and startled General Gage. He issued a proclamation, denoun^' 
cing it as illegal and traitorous. Furthermore, he encamped a 
force of infantry and artillery on Boston Common, as if prepared 
to enact the lion. An alarm spread through the adjacent country. 
^ Boston is to be blockaded I Boston is to be reduced to obe- 
dience by force or fBunine I " The spirit of the yeomanry was 
aroused. They sent in word to the inhabitants promising to come 
to their aid if necessary ; and urging them to stand fast to the 
faith. Afiairs were coming to a crisis. It was predicted that 
the new acts of Parliament would bring on " a most important 
and decisiye triaL" 



fahfaz— PATBiono BisoLimoira — ^WAamNGioir's onmoNB oir fdbuo atfaiu 


Shortly after WasHngton's return to Mount Yemon, in the 
latter part of June, lie presided as moderator at a meeting of the 
inhabitants of Fairfax County, wherein, after the recent acts of 
Parliament had been discussed, a committee was appointed, with 
himself as chairman, to draw up resolutions expressive of the 
sentiments of the present meeting, and to report the same at a 
general meeting of the county, to be held in the court-house on 
the 18th of July. 

The course that public measures were taking shocked the 
loyal feelings of Washington's valued friend, Biyan Fairfax, of 
Tarlston Hall, a younger brother of George William, who waa 
absent in England. He was a man of liberal sentiments, but 
attached to the ancient rule ; and, in a letter to Washington, ad* 
vised a petition to the throne, which would give Parliament an 
opportunity to repeal the offensive acts. 


^I ironld heartilj join jon in jonr political Bentiments," 
writes Washington in reply, " as far as rdates to a humble and 
dutiful petition to the throne, provided there was the most dis- 
tant hope of success. But have we not tried this already ? Have 
we not addressed the lords, and remonstrated to the commons ? 
And to what end ? Does it not appear as clear as the sun in its 
meridian brightness that there is a r^ular, systematic plan to fix 
the right and practice of taxation upon us?*****Is 
not the attack upon the liberty and property of the people of Bos- 
ton, before restitution of the loss to the India Company was de- 
manded, a plain and self-evident proof of what they are aiming 
at ? Do not the subsequent bills for depriving the Massachusetts 
Bay of its charter, and for transporting offandars to other colo- 
nies or to <3reat Britain for trial, where it is impossible, from 
the nature of things, that justice can be obtained, convince us that 
the administration is determined to stick at nothing to carry its 
point ? Ought we not, then, to put our virtue and fortitude to 
tiie severest tests ? " 

The committee met according to appointment, with Washing* 
ton as chairman. The resolutions framed at the meeting insisted, 
as usual, on the right of self-government, and the principle that 
taxation and representation were in their nature inseparable. 
That the various acts of Parliament for raising revenue ; taking 
away triak by jury; ordering that persons might be tried in a 
different country from that in which the cause of accusation origi- 
nated; closing the port of Boston; abrogating the charter of 
Massachusetts Bay, &c., &c, — were all part of a premeditated 
design and system to introduce arbitrary government into the 
colonies. That the sudden and repeated dissolutions of Assem- 
blies whenever they presumed to examine the illegality of minis- 

356 LIF£ OF WASHINQTON. [17^4. 

terial maiidftteB, or cUliberated on the violated rights of their con- 
Btitaents, were part of the eame system, and calculated vid in- 
tended to drive the people of the colonies to a state of despera- 
tion, and to dissolve the compact by which their ancestors boond 
th^nselvesand their posterity to remain dependent on the British 
crown. The resolutions, furthermore, recommended the most 
perfect union and co-operation among the colonies ; solemn cove- 
nants with respect to non-importation and non-intercourse, and a 
renunciation of all dealings with any colony, town, or province, 
that should refuse to agree to the plan adopted by the General 

They also recommended a dutiful petition and remonslnmce 
from the Congress to the king, asserting their constitutional 
rights and {vivileges ; lamenting the necessity of entering into 
measures that might be displeasing ; declaring their attachment 
to his person, family, and government, and their desire to con- 
tinue in dependence upon Great Britun; beseeching him not 
to reduce his faithful subjects of America to desperation, and 
to reflect, that from our sovereign there etm be but one 

These resolutions are the more worthy of note, as expressive 
of the opinions and feelings of Washington at this eventful time, 
if not being entirely dictated by him The hist sentence is of 
awAil import, suggesting the possibility of beiug driven to an ap- 
peal to arms. 

Bryan Fairfax, who was aware of their purport, addressed a 
long letter to Washington, on tiie 17th of July, the day i^eoed- 
ing that in which they were to be reported by the committee, 
stating his objecti<His to several of them, and requesting that his 
letter might be publicly read. The letter was not received until 


after the committee had gone to the ooart-honse on the 18th, 
with the resolutions revised, corrected, and ready to be reported. 
Washington glanced oyer the letter hastily, and handed it round 
to several of the gentlemen present They, with one exeepticHi, 
advised that it should not be publicly read, as it was not likely to 
make any converts, and was repugnant, as some thought, to every 
principle they were contending for. Washington forbore, there- 
fore, to give it any further publicity. 

The resolutions reported by the committee were adopted, and 
Washington was chosen a delegate to represent the county at the 
General Oonvention of the province, to be held at Williamsburg 
on the Ist of August. After the meeting had adjourned, he felt 
doubtful whether Fwfax might not be dissatisfied that his letter 
had not been read, as he requested, to the county at large; he 
wrote to him, therefore, explaining the circumstances which pre- 
vented it ; at the same time replying to some of the objections 
which Fairfax had made to certain of the resolutions. He reiter- 
ated his belief that an lippeal would be ineffioctuaL " What is it 
we are contending agamstf asked he; "Is it against paying 
the duty of threepence per pound on tea because burd^osome ? 
No, it is the right only, that we have all along disputed ; and to 
this end, we have already petitioned his majesty in as humble and 
dutiful a manner as subjects could do. Nay, more, we applied to 
the House of ' Lords and House of Commons in fheit different 
legislative capacities, setting forth that, as Englishmen, we could 
not be deprived of this essential and valuable part of our consti- 
tution. • • • • • 

" The conduct of the Boston people could not justify the rigor 
of their measures, unless there had been a requisition of payment, 
and refusal of it ; nor did that conduct require an act to deprive 


the goTemment of Massacliiisetts Bay of their charter, or to ex- 
empt offenders from trial in the places where offences were com- 
mitted, as there was not, nor oould there be, a single instance 
produced to manifest the necessity of it Are not all these 
things evident proofb of « fixed and uniform plan to tax ns ? If 
we want farther proofs, do not aU the debates in the House of 
Commons serve to confirm this ? And has not General Gage's 
conduct since his arrival, in stopping the address of his council, 
and publishing a proclamation, more becoming a Turkidi bashaw 
than an English governor, declaring it treason to associate in any 
manner by which the commerce of Great Britun is to be affected, 
— has not this exhibited an unexampled testimony of the most 
despotic system of tyranny that ever was practised in a free gov- 
ernment ? " 

The popular measure on which Washington laid the greatest 
stress as a means of obtaining redress from government, was the 
non-importation scheme ; '* for I am convinced," said he, '' as 
much as of my existence, that there is no l^lief for us but in their 
distress ; and I think — at least I hope— that there is public vir- 
tue enough left among us to deny ourselves every thing but the 
bare necessaries of life to accomplish this end." At the same 
time, he forcibly condemned a suggestion that remittances to 
England should be withheld. " While we are accusing others of 
injustice," said he, *' we should be just ourselves ; and how tiiis 
can be whilst we owe a considerable debt, and refuse paymoit of 
it to Great Britain is to me inconceivable : nothing but the last 
extremity can justify it." 

On the Ist of August, the conv^ition of representatives from 
all parts of Virginia assembled at Williamsburg. Washington 
appeared on behalf of Fairfax County, and presented the resoln- 


tions, already oited, as the senee of his oonstitarats. He is said, 
bj one who was present, to have spoken ia support of them in a 
strain of uncommon eloquence, which shows how his latent ardor 
had been excited on the occasion, as eloquence was not in general 
among his attributes. It is evident, however, that he was roused 
to an unuBual pitch of enthusiasm, for he is said to have declared 
that he was ready to raise one thousand men, subsist them at his 
own expense, and mardi at their head to the relief of Boston.* 

The Convention was six days in session. Besdutions, in the 
same spirit with those passed in Fair&x County, were ad6t>ted, 
and Peyton Bandolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, 
Patrick Henry, Bichard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and Edmund 
Pendleton, were appointed delegates, to represent the people of 
Virginia in the General Congress. 

Shortly after Washington's return from Williamsburg, he re- 
ceived a reply from Bryan Fairfax, to his last letter. Fairfax, 
who was really a man of liberal views, seemed anxious to vindi- 
cate himself from any suspicions of the contrary. In adverting 
to the partial suppression of his letter by some of the gentlemen 
of the committee : *' I am uneasy to find," writes he, << that any 
one should look upon the letter sent down as repugnant to the 
principles we are contending for; and, th^efore, when you have 
leisure, I shall take it as a f&vor if you will let me know wherein 
it was thought so. I beg leave to look upon you as a friend, and 
it is a great relief to unbosom <me's thou^ts to a friend. Be- 
sides, the information, and the correction of my errors, which I 
may obtain from a correspondence, are great inducements to ii 
For I am convinced that no man in the colony wishes its pros- 

* See infonnation given to the elder AdamB, by Mr. Lynch of South 
Carolina.— ^cibmt^f Diary, 


perity more, would go greater lengths to serve it, or is, at the 
game time, a better sabject to the crown. Praj excuse these 
compliments, they may be tolerable from a friend." * 

The hurry of various occupations prevented Washington, in 
his reply, from entering into apy further discussion of the popular 
theme. '^ I can only in general add," said he, " that an innate 
spirit of freedom first told me that the measures which the ad- 
ministration have for some time been, and now are violently pnr- 
Buing, are oj^sed to every principle of natural justice; whilst 
much abler heads than my own have fully convinced me, that they 
are not only repugnant to natural right, but subveruve of the 
laws and constitution of Great Britain itsell • • • • x 
shall conclude with remarking that, if you disavow the right of 
Parliament to tax us, unrepresented as we are, we only differ in 
the mode of opposition, and this difference prindpally arises from 
your belief that they (the Parliament I mean), want a decent o^ 
portunity to repeal the acts; whilst I am fully convinced that 
there has been a regular systematic plan to enforce them, and that 
nothing but unanimity and firmness in the colonies, which they 
did not expect, can prevent it. By the best advices fr^un Boston, 
it seems that Gkneral Gage is exceedingly disconcerted at the 
quiet and steady conduct of the people of the Massachusetta 
Bay, and at the measures pursuing by the other governments. I 
dare say he expected to force those oppressed people into compli- 
ance, or irritate them to acts of violence before this, for a more 
colorable pretence of ruling that, and the other colonies, with a 
high hand." . 

Washington had formed a correct opinion of the position of 
General Gage. From the time of taking command at Boston, he 

* Sparkn. Washington's Writings, vol il, i>. 829. 

m4.] TOWN HEirncos kvbt auvb. S6l 

had been perplexed Uow to manage its inhabitants. Had they 
been hot-headed, impulsiye, and prone to paroxysm, his task 
would hare been oomparatirely easy ; but it was the cool, shrewd 
oommon sense, by which all their movements were regulated, that 
confounded him. 

Hi^-handed measures had fidled of the anticipated effect. 
Their harbor had been thronged with ships; their town with 
troops. The port bill had put an end to commerce; wharves 
were deserted, warehouses closed; streets grass-grown and silent 
The rich were growing poor, and the poor were without employ ; 
yet the spirit of the people was unbroken. There was no uproar, 
however; no riots; eveiy thing was awMly systematic and ac- 
cording to rule. Town meetings were held, in which public rights 
and public measures were eloquently discussed by John Adams, 
Josiah Quincy, and other eminent men. Over these meetings 
Samuel Adams presided as moderator ; a man clear in judgment, 
calm in conduct, inflexible in resolution ; deeply grounded in civil 
and political history, and infallible on all points of constitutional 

Alarmed at the powerful influence of these assemblages, gov- 
ernment issued an act prohibiting them after the 1st of August. 
The act was evaded by convoking the meetings before that day, 
and keeping ihem alive indefinitely. Oage was at a loss how to 
act. It would not do to disperse these assemblages by force of 
arms ; for, the people who composed them mingled the soldier 
with the polemic ; and, like their prototypes, the covenanters of 
yore, if prone to argue, were as ready to fight. So the meetings 
continued to be held pertinaciously. Faneuil Hall was at times 
unable to hold them, and they swarmed from that revolutionary 
hive into old South Church. The liberty tree became a rallying 

Vol. I.— 16 


place for any popular moTement, and a flag hoisted on it was sa- 
luted by all processions as the emblem of the popular cause. 

Opposition to the new plan of goyemment assumed a more 
violent aspect at the extremity of the province, and was abetted 
by Connecticut " It is very high," writes Qtige, (August 27th,) 
'' in Berkshire County, and makes way rapidly to the rest At 
Worcester they threaten resistance, purchase arms, provide pow- 
der, cast balls, and threaten to attack any troops who may oppose 
them. I apprehend I shall soon have to march a body of troops 
into that township." 

The time appointed for the meeting of the (General Congress at 
Philadelphia was now at hand. Delegates had already gone on 
from Massachusetts. '^ It is not possible to guess," writes Chge, 
'' what a body composed of such heterogeneous matter will deter- 
mine; but the members from hence, I am assured, will promote 
the most haughty and insolent resolves ; for their plan has ever 
been, by threats and high-sounding sedition, to terrify and in* 


wnaofQ or thb ixb8T ooiroRns— -opiNizro oKuacoiina — ^eloquence of patrigk 


Wheh the time approached for the meeting of the General Con- 
gress at Philadelphia, Washington was joined at Mount Yemen 
by Patrick Henry and Edmund Pendleton, and they performed 
the journey together on horseback. It was a noble companion- 
ship. Henry was then in the youthful vigor and elasticity of his 
bounding genius; ardent, acute, fanciful, eloquent Pendleton, 
schooled in public life, a veteran in council, with native force of 
intellect, and habits of deep reflection. Washington, in the me- 
ridian of his days, mature in wisdom, comprehensive in mind, sa- 
gacious in foresight Such were the apostles of liberty, repairing 
on their august pilgrimage to Philadelphia from all parts of the 
land, to lay the foundations of a nughty empire. Well may we 
say of that eventful period, " There were giants in those days." 

Congress assembled on Monday, the 5th of September, in a 
large room in Carpenter's HalL There were fifty-one delegateS| 
representing all the colonied excepting Georgia. 


The meeting has been described as '^ awfully solemn." l%e 
most eminent men of the yarious colonies, were now for the first 
time brou^t together ; Ihey were known to each other by &me, 
bat were, personally, strangers. The object whidi had called 
them together, was of incalculable magnitude. The liberties of 
no less than three millions of people, with that of all their pos- 
terity, were staked on the wisdom and energy of their oouncilB. * 

''It is sudi an assembly," writes John Adams, who was 
present, ^ as never before came together on a sudden, in any part 
of the world. Here are fortunes, abilities, learning, eloquence, 
acuteness, equal to any I ever met with in my life. Here is a 
diyersity of religions, educations, manners, interests, such as it 
would seem impossible to unite in one plan of conduct" 

There being an inequality in the number of delegates from 
the different colonies, a question arose as to the mode of Toting ; 
whether by colonies, by the poll, or by interests. 

Patrick Henry scouted the idea of sectional distinctions or 
individual interests. " All America," said he, '' is thrown into 
one mass. Where are your landmarks — ^your boundaries of colo- 
nies? They are all thrown down. The dbtinctions between 
Virginians, Pennsylyanians, New Yorkers and New Englanders, 
are no more. / am not a Virginian^ but an AmericanJ*^ t 

After some debate, it was determined that each colony should 
have but one vote, whatever might be the number of its delegates. 
The deliberations of the House were to be with closed doors, and 
nothing but the resolves promulgated, unless by order of the ma- 

To give proper dignity and solemnity to the proceedings of 

» Wirt's life of Patrick Henry, p. 224. 
f J. Adains' Diary. 


the ^onsd, it was moyed on the followiiig day, that each morning 
the session should be opened by prayer. To this it was de- 
murred, tiiat as the delegates were of different religions sects, 
they might not consent to join in the same form of worship. 

Upon this, Mr. Samuel Adams arose and said : '^ He would 
wiUingly join in prayer with any gentleman of piety and virtue, 
whatever might be his cloth, provided he was a friend of his 
country ;'' and he moved tiiat Ihe reverend Mr. Duche, of Phila- 
delphia, lAiO answered to that description, might be invited to 
officiate as chaplain. This was one step towards unanimily of 
feeling, Mr. Adams being a strong Oongregationalist, and Mr. 
I>uch6 an eminent Episcopalian clergyman. The motion was 
carried into effect ; the invitation was given and accepted. 

In the course of the day, a rumor reached Philadelphia that 
Boston had been cannonaded by the British. It produced a 
strong sensation ; and when Congress met on the following morn- 
ing (7th), the effect was visible in every countenance. The dele- 
gates from the east were greeted with a warmer grasp of the 
hand by their associates from the south. 

The reverend Mr. Duch^, according to invitation, appeared in 
his canonicals, attended by his clerk. The morning service of 
the Episcopal church was read with great solemnity, the clerk 
making the responses. The Psalter for the 7th day of the month 
includes the 35th Psalm, wherein David prays for protection 
against his enemies. '' Plead my cause, Lord, with them that 
strive with me : fight against them that fight against me. 

^ Take hold of shield and buckler and stand up for my help. 

*' Draw out, also, the spear, and JBtop the way of them that 
persecute me. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation," &c., &^ 

The imploring words of this psalm, spoke the feelings of all 


hearts present; bat especially of those from New England. 
John Adams writes in a letter to his wife : " You must remem* 
ber this was the morning after we heard the horrible rumor of 
the cannonade of Boston. I never saw a greater effect upon an 
audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that psalm to be 
read on that morning. After this, Mr. Duch6 unexpectedly 
struck out into an extemporary prayer, which filled the bosom of 
every man present Episcopalian as he is, Dr. Cooper himself 
never prayed with such fervor, such ardor, such earnestness and 
pathos, and in language so eloquent and sublime, for America, for 
the Congress, for the province of Massachusetts Bay, and espe- 
cially the town of Boston. It has had an excellent effect upon 
every body here." • 

It has been remarked that Washington was especially devout 
on this occasion — kneeling, while others stood up. In this, 
however, each, no doubt, observed the attitude in prayer to which 
he was accustomed, Washington knelt, being an Episcopalian. 

The rumored attack upon Boston, rendered the service of 
the day deeply affecting to all present. They were one political 
family, actuated by one feeling, and sympathizing with the weal 
and woe of each individual member. The rumor proved to be- 
erroneous ; but it had produced a most beneficial effect in calling 
forth and quickening the spirit of union, so vitally important in 
that assemblage. 

Owing to closed doors, and the want of reporters, no record 
exists of the discussions and speeches made in the first Congress. 
Mr. Wirt, speaking from tradition, informs us that a long and 
deep silence followed the organization of that august body ; the 

* jFohn Adams' C!orreepondeno« and Diary. 


members lookiiig round upon each other, indiyidually reluctant to 
open a buBiness so fearfully momentous. This '^ deep and death- 
like silenee " was beginning to become painfully embarrassing, 
when Patrick Henry arose. He fedtered at first, as was his 
habit; but his exordium was impressiye; and as he launched 
forth into a recital of colonial wrongs he kindled with his sub- 
ject, until he poured forth one of those eloquent appeals which 
had so often shaken the House of Burgesses and gained him the 
fame of being the greatest orator of Yirginia. He sat down, ao- 
cording to Mr. Wirt, amidst murmurs of astonishment and ap> 
plause, and was now admitted, on erery hand, to be the first 
orator of America. He was followed by Richard Henry Lee, 
who, according to the same writer, charmed the house with a dif- 
ferent kind of eloquence, chaste and classical ; contrasting, in its 
cultiyated graces, with the wild and grand effusions of H^nry. 
" The superior powers of these great men, however," adds he, 
'' were manifested only in debate, and while general grievances 
were the topic ; when called down from the heights of declamation 
to that severer test of intellectual excellence, the details of busi- 
ness, they found themselves in a body of cool-headed, reflecting, 
and most able men, by whom they were, in their turn, completely 
thrown into the shade." • 

The first public measure of Congress was a resolution declara- 
tory of their feelings with regard to the recent acts of Parliament, 
violating the rights of the people of Massachusetts, and of their 
determination to combine in resisting any force that might at- 
tempt to carry those acts into execution. 

A committee of two from each province reported a series of 

* Wirt's life of Patrick Henry. 


resolutioiiB, wHeh were adopted and promulgated by Oongress, as 
a *^ declaration of colonial rights." In this were enumerated 
their natural rights to the enjoyment of life, liberty, and proper- 
ty ; and their rights as British subjects. Among the latter was 
participation in legislatiye councils. This they could not exercise 
through representatives in Parliament; they claimed, therefore, 
the power of legislating in their proyincial assemblies ; consent- 
ing, howeyer, to such acts of Parliament as might be essential to 
the regulation of trade ; but excluding all taxation, internal or 
external, for raising revenue in America. 

The common law of England was claimed as a birthright, in- 
cluding the right of trial by a jury of the vicinage ; of holding 
public meetings to consider grievances; and of petitioning the 
king. The benefits of aU such statutes as existed at the time of 
the loolonization were likewise claimed ; together with the immu- 
nities and privileges granted by royal charters, or secured by 
provincial laws. 

The maintmiance of a standing army in any colony in time 
of peace, without the consent of its legislature, was pronounced 
contrary to law. The exercise of the legislative power in the 
colonies by a council appointed during pleasure by the crown, 
was declared to be unconstitutional, and destructive to the free- 
dom of American legislation. 

Then followed a specification of the acts of Parliament, 
passed during the reign of George III., infringing and violating 
these rights. These were: the sugar act; the stamp act; the 
two acts for quartering troops ; the tea act ; the act suspending 
the New York legislature ; the two acts for the trial in Great 
Britain of offences committed in America ; the Boston port bill ; 

m^.] .STATE PAPERS. 369 ' 

die act for regulating the goTemment of Massacbnsetts, and the 
Quebec act. 

''To these grieyous acts and measures," it was added, 
^ Americans cannot submit f but in hopes their fellow subjects in 
Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that 
state in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, 
we haye, for the present, only resolyed to pursue Ihe following 
peaceable measures : 

'' 1st. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and 
non-exportation agreement, or association. 

'' 2d. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain, 
and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America. 

" 3d, To prepare a loyal address to his majesty." 

The above-mentioned association was accordingly formed, and 
committees were to be appointed in every county, city, and town, 
to maintain it vigilantly and strictly. 

Masterly state papers were issued by Congress in conformity 
to the resolutions: viz., a petition to the king, drafted by Mr. 
Dickinson, of Philadelphia ; an address to the people of Canada 
by the same hand, inviting them to join the league of the colo- 
nies ; another to the people of Great Britain, drafted by John 
Jay, of New York; and a memorial to the inhabitants of the 
British colonies by Kichard Henry Lee, of Virginia.* 

The Congress remained in session fifty-one days. Every sub- 
ject, according to Adams, was discussed '' with a moderation, an 
acuteness, and a minuteness equal to that of Queen Elizabeth's 
privy couBciL" t The papers issued by it have deservedly been 
pronounced masterpieces of practical talent and political wisdom. 

* See Correspondenoe and Diary of J. Adams, Tola. ii. and ix. 
t Letter to William Tudor, 29th Sept, 1774. 
Vol. I.— 16* 


Chatham, when Bj^eaUdDg on the snbjeot in the HouBe of Lords, 
could not restrain his enthusiasm. '^ When your lordships," said 
he, 'Mook at the papers transmitted to us from America; when 
you consider their decency, firmness, and wisdom, you cannot but 
respect their cause, and wish to make it your own. For myself^ 
I must declare and avow that, in the master states of the world, 
I know not ike people, or senate, who, in such a complicaUon of 
difficult circumstances, can stand in preference to Ihe delates 
of America assembled in General Congress at Philadelphia." 

From the secrecy that enyeloped its discussions, we are 
ignorant of the part taken by Washington in the debates; ihe 
similarity of the resolutions, howeyer, in spirit and substance 
to those of the Fairfax County meeting, in which he presided, 
and the coincidence of the measures adopted with those therein 
recommended, show that he had a powerful agency in the whole 
proceedings of this eventful assembly. Patrick Henry, being 
asked, on his return home, whom he considered the greatest man 
in Congress, replied : " If you speak of eloquence, Mr. Butledge, 
of South Carolina, is by far the greatest orator ; but if you speak 
of solid information and sound judgment. Colonel Washington is 
unquestionably the greatest man on that floor." 

How thoroughly and zealously he participated in the feelings 
which actuated Congress in this memorable sesnon, may be 
gathered from his correspondence with a friend enlisted in the 
royal cause. This was Captain Robert Madcensie, who had for- 
merly served under him in his Virginia regiment during Uio 
French war, but now held a commission in the regular army, and 
was stationed among the British troops at Boston. 

Mackenzie, in a letter, had spoken with loyal abhorrence of the 
state of affairs in the '' unhappy province " of Massachusetts, and 


the iSzed aim of its inhabitants at *' total independence." '' The 
rebellions and nnmerons meetings of men in arms," said he, 
^ their scandalous and ungenerous attacks vpon Ihe best oharao* 
ters in the province, obliging them to save themselves by flight, 
and their repeated, but feeble threats, to duq)ossess the troops, 
have fiomushed sofficient reasons to General Gage to pat the town 
in a formidable state of defence, about which we are now fdllj 
employed, and w;hich will be shortly accomplished to Iheir great 

** Permit me,** writes Washington in reply, " with the free- 
dom of a friend (for you know I always esteemed you), to express 
my sorrow that fbrtune should place you in a service that must 
fix curses, to the latest posterity, upon the contrivers, and, if 
success (which, by the by, is impossible) accompanies it, execra- 
tions upon all those who have been instrumental in the execu 
tion. • • ^ • When you condemn the conduct of the 
Massachusetts people, you reason from effects, not causes, other* 
wise you would not wonder at a people, who are every day receiv- 
ing fresh proofs of a systematic assertion of an arbitrary power, 
deeply planned to overturn the laws and constitution of their 
country, and to violate the most essential and valuable rights of 
mankind, being irritated, and with diificulty restrained, from acts 
of the greatest violence and intemperance. 

*^ For my own part, I view things in a very different point of 
light from the one in which you seem to consider them; and 
though you are led to believe, by venal men, that the people of 
Massachusetts are rebellious, setting up for independency, and 
what not, give me leave, my good friend, to tell you that you are 
abused, grossly abused. • • • • j think I can announce it 
«a a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that fcovemment, or 

372 LIFE OF' WASHINGTON. [1774. 

any other upon this oontment, separatelj or ooUectiyeljF, to aek up 
for independenoe; bat this you maj at the aame time rely on, 
that none of them will ever submit to the loss of their valoabla 
rights and privileges, which are essential to the happiness of 
eyery free state, and without which, lifey liberty, and proper^, 
are rendered totally inseoore. 

'^ These, sir, being certain consequences, which must naturally 
result from Ihe late acts of Parliament rektire to America in 
general, and the goyemment of Massachusetts in particular, is it 
to be wondered at that men who wish -to ayert the impending 
blow, should attempt to oppose its progress, or prepare for their 
defence, if it cannot be averted ? Surely I may be allowed to an- 
swer m the negative ; and give me leave to add, as my opinion, that 
more blood will be spilled on this occasion, if the ministry are 
determined to push matters to extremity, than history has ever 
yet furnished instances of in the annals of North America; and 
such a vital wound will be given to the peace of this great coun- 
try, as time itself cannot cure, or eradicate the remembrance of" 

In concluding, he repeats his views with respect to indepen- 
dence : '^ I am well satisfied that no such thing is desired by any 
thinking man in all North America ; on the contrary, that it is 
the ardent wish of the warmest advocates for liberty, that peace 
and tranquillity, upon constitutional grounds, may be restored, 
and ike horrors of civil discord prevented." * 

This letter we have considered especially worthy of citation, 
from its being so full and explicit a declaration of Washington's 
sentiments and opinions at this critical juncture. His views on 
the question of independence are particularly noteworthy, from 

* Sparks. Washington's Writings, toL ii, p. 899. 


hiB 'being at this time in daily and confidential commnnioation 
with the leaders of the popular moyement, and among them with 
the delegates from Boston. It is evident that the filial feeling 
still throbbed toward the mother comitry, and a complete separa- 
tion from her had not yet entered into Ihe alternatiyes of her 
colonial children. 

On the breaking up of Congress, Washington hastened back 
to Mount Yemen, where his presence was more than usually im- 
portant to the happiness of Mrs. Washington, from the loneliness 
caused by the recent death of her daughter, and the absence of 
her son. The cheerfulness of the neighborhood had been dimin- 
ished of late by the departure of George William Fairfax for 
England, to take possession of estates which had devolved to him 
in that kingdom. His estate of Belvoir, so closely allied with 
that of Mount Vernon by family ties and reciprocal hospitality, 
was left in charge of a steward, or overseer. Through some acci- 
dent the house took fire, and was burnt to the ground. It was 
never rebuilt. The course of political events which swept Wash- 
ington from his quiet home into the current of public and military 
life, prevented William Fairfax, who was a royalist, though a 
liberal one, from returning to his once happy abode, and the hos- 
pitable intercommunion of Mount Vernon and Belvoir was at 
an end for ever. 



The rumor of the oannonadiDg of Boston, which had thrown snoh 
a gloom oyer the religious ceremonial at the opening of Congress, 
had been caused by measures of Governor Gage. The publk 
mind, in Boston and its yicinitj, had been rendered excessiyelj 
jealous and sensitiye by the landing and encamping of artillery 
upon the Common, and Welsh Fusiliers on Fort Hill, and by the 
planting of four large field-pieces on Boston Neck, the only en- 
trance to the town by land. The country people were arming 
and disciplining themselves in every direction, and collecting and 
depositing arms and ammunition in places where they would be 


at hand in case of emergency. Gage, on the other hand, issued 
orders that the munitions of war in all the puhlic magazines 
should be brought to Boston. One of these magazines was the 
arsenal in the north-west part of Charlestown, between Medford 
and Cambridge. Two companies of the king's troops passed si- 
lently in boats up Mystic River in the night ; took possession of 
a large quantity of gunpowder deposited there, and conveyed it to 
Castle Williams. Intelligence of this saoHng of the arsenal flew 
with lightning speed through the neighborhood. In the morning 
several thousands of patriots were assembled at Cambridge, 
weapon in hand, and were with difficulty prevented from march- 
ing upon Boston to compel a f estitution of the powder. In the 
confusion and agitation, a rumor stole out into the countty that 
Boston was to be attacked; followed by another that the ships 
were cannonading the town, and the sddiers shooting down the 
inhabitants. The whole country was forthwith in arms. Nu- 
merous bodies of the Connecticut people had made some marches 
before the report was contradicted.* 

To guard against any irruption from the country, Ghige en- 
camped the 59th regiment on Boston Neck, and employed the sol- 
diers in intrenching and fortifying it. 

In the mean time the belligerent feelings of the inhabitants 
were encouraged, by learning how the rumor of their being can- 
nonaded had been received in the General Congress, and by assu- 
rances from all parts that the cause of Boston would be made the 
common cause of America. ''It is surprising," writes General 
Gage, " that so many of the other provinces interest themselves 
so much in this. They have some warm friends in New York, 

* H<^€8^8 Annals, ii., 101. — ^Letter of Gage to Lord Dartmouth. 


and I learn that the people of Gharleston, South Garolina, are as 
mad as they are here.*' • 

The commissions were arriyed for those civil ojfioers i^point- 
ed by the crown under the new modifications of the charter: 
many, howerer, were afraid to accept of them. Those who did 
soon resigned, finding it impossible to withstand the odium of the 
people. The civil government throughout the province became 
obstructed in all its operationa It was enough for a man to be 
supposed of the governmental party to incur popular ill-wilL 

Among other portentous signs, war-hawks began to appear 
above the horizon. Mrs. Gushing, wife to a member of Gongress, 
writes to her husband, *^ Two of the greatest military characters 
of the day are visiting this distressed town. Oeneral Ghariee 
Lee, who has served in Poland, and Golonel Israel Putnam, whose 
bravery and character need no description." As these two men 
will take a prominent part in coming events, we pause to give a 
word or two concerning them. 

Israel Putnam was a soldier of native growth. One of the 
military productions of the French war ; seasoned and proved in 
frontier campaigning. He had served at Louisburg, Fort Du- 
quesne, and Crown Point; had. signalized himself in Indian war- 
fare ; been captured by the savages, tied to a stake to be tortured 
and burnt, and had only been rescued by the interference, at the 
eleventh hour, of a French partisan of the Indians. 

Since the peace, he had returned to agricultural life, and waa 
now a farmer at Pomfret, in Gonnecticut, where the scars of hia 
wounds and the tales of his exploits rendered him a hero in 
popular estimation. The war spirit yet burned within him. He 

* Gage to Dartmouth, Bept 20. 


was now oliairman of a committee of vigilazioe, and had oome 
to Boston in discharge of his political and semi-belligerent func- 

General Gharles Lee was a military man of a different stamp ; 
an EDglishman by birth, and a highly cultiyated production of 
European warfare. He wfts the son of a British officer, Lieu- 
tenant-colonel John Lee, of the dragoouB, who married the 
daughter of Sir Henry Bunbury, Bart, and afterwards rose to 
be a general Lee was bom in 1731, and may almost be said to 
have been cradled in the army, for he received a commission by 
the time he was eleyen years of age. He had an irregular edu- 
cation ; part of the time in England, part on the continent, and 
must have scrambled his way into knowledge; yet by aptness, 
diligence and ambition, he^ had acquired a considerable portion, 
being a Greek and Latin scholar, and acquainted with modem 
languages. The art of war was his especial study from his boy- 
hood, and he had early opportunities of practical experience. At 
the age of twenty-four, he commanded a company of grenadiers 
in the 44th regiment, and served in the French war in America, 
where he was brought into military companionship with Sir 
William Johnson's Mohawk warriors, whom he used to extol for 
their manly beauty, their dress, their graceful carriage and good 
breeding. Li fact, he rendered himself so much of a favorite 
among them, that they admitted him to smoke in their councils, 
and adopted him into the tribe of the Bear, giving him an Lidian 
name, signifying " Boiling Water." 

At the battle of Ticonderoga, where Abercrombie was de- 
feated, he was shot through the body, while leading his men 
against the Ereuoh breastworks. In the next campaign, he was 
present at the siege of Fort Niagara, where General Prideaux fell, 

378 LIFE OF WABHINaTON. [11*14, 

and where Sir WilHam Johnson, with his British troops and Mo- 
hawk warriors, eyentoally won the fortress. Lee had, probably, 
an opportunity on this oooasion of fighting side by side with some 
of his adopted brethren of the Bear tribe, as we are told he was 
much exposed daring the engagement with the French and 
Indians, and that two balls grazed Ms hair. A military errand, 
afterwards, took him across Lake Erie, and down the northern 
branch of the Ohio to Fort Duqnesne, and thence by a long 
march of seven hundred miles to Grown Point, where he joined 
General Amherst Jn 1760, he was among the forces which fol- 
lowed that general from Lake Ontario down the St Lawrence ; 
and was present at the surrender of Montreal, which completed 
the conquest of Canada. 

Li 1762, he bore a coloners commission, and served under 
Brigadier-general Burgoyne in Portugal, where he was intrusted 
with an enterprise against a Spanish post at the old Moorish 
castle of Villa Yelha, on the banks of the Tagus. He forded 
the river in the night, pushed his way through mountain passes, 
and at 2 o'clock in the morning, rushed with his grenadiers into 
the enemy's camp before daylight, where every thing was car- 
ried at the point of the bayonet, assisted by a charge of dragoons. 
The war over, he returned to England, bearing testimonials of 
bravery and good conduct from his commander-in-chief, the 
Count de la Lippe, and from the king of Portugal * 

Wielding the pen as well as the sword, Lee undertook to 
write on questions of colonial policy, relative to Pontiac's war, in 
which he took the opposition side. This lost him the favor of 
the ministry, and with it all hope of further promotion. 

* life of Charles Lee, by Jared Sparks. Also, Memoirs of Charles 
Loe ; published in London, 1*792. 



He now determined to offer his services to Poland, supposed 
to be on the verge of a war. Becommendations from his old 
commander, the Ooont de la Lippe, procured him access to some 
of the continental courts. He was well received by Frederick 
the Great, and had several conversations with him, chieflj on 
American affairs. At Warsaw, his military reputation secured 
him the favor of Poniatowsky, recently elected king of Poland, 
with the name of Stanislaus Augustus, who admitted him 
to his table, and made him one of his aides-de-camp. Lee 
was disappointed in his hope of active service. There was agi- 
tation in the country, but the power of the king was not adequate 
to raise forces sufficient for its suppression. He had few troops, 
and those not trustworthy; and the town was full of the disaf- 
fected. "We have frequent alarms," said Lee, "and the 
pleasure of sleeping every night with our pistols on our pillows." 

By way of relieving his restlessness, Lee, at the suggestion of 
the king, set off to accompany the Polish ambassador to Constan- 
tinople. The latter travelled too slow for him; so he dashed 
ahead when on the frontiers of Turkey, with an escort of the 
grand seignior's treasure ; came near perishing with cold and hunger 
among the Bulgarian mountains, and after his arrival at the 
Turkish capital, ran a risk of being buried under the ruins of his 
house in an earthquake. 

Late in the same year (1766), he was again in England, an 
applicant for military appointment, bearing a letter from king 
Stanislaus to king George. His meddling pen is supposed 
again to have marred his fortunes, having indulged in sarcastic 
comments on the military character of General Townshend and 
Lord Q«orge Sackville. " I am not at all surprised," said a 
friend to him, " that you find the door shut against you by a per- 

380 UFB OF WA8HIKQT0N. [irr4. 

son who has sach unboanded credit, as yon have ever too fireelj 
indulged in a liberty of declaiming, idiioh many invidious persons 
have not failed to inform i4iim ot The principle on whidi yoa 
thus freely speak your mind, is honest and patriotic, but not 

The disappointments which Lee met with during a residence 
of two years in England, and a protracted attendance on people 
in power, rankled in his bosom, and embittered his subsequent 
resentment against the king and his ministers. 

In 1768, he was again on his way to Poland, with the design 
of performing a campaign in the Russian service. '^ I flatter 
myself," said he, << that a little more practice will make me a 
good soldier. If not, it will serve to talk over my kitchen fire 
in my old age, which will soon come upon us all" 

He now looked forward to spirited service. << I am to have a 
command of Cossacks and Wallaoks," writes he, " a kind of peo- 
ple I have a good opinion o£ I am determined not to serve in 
the line. One might as well be a churchwarden." 

The friendship of king Stanislaus continued. '< He treats 
me more like a brother than a patron," said Lee. In 1769, the 
latter was raised to the rank of major-general in the Polish 
army, and left Warsaw to join the Bussian force, which was 
crossing the Dniester and advancing into Moldavia. He arrived 
in time to take part in a severe action between the Russians and 
Turks, in which the Oossacks and hussars were terribly cut up 
by the Turkish cavalry, in a ravine near the city of Ghotiim. 
It was a long and doubtful conflict, with various changes ; but 
the rumored approach of the grand vider, with a hundred and 
seventy thousand men, compelled the Russians to abandon the 
enterprise and reoross the Dniester. 


Lee neTer returned to Podand, tiioii^ lie erer retained a de* 
voted attachment to Stanislaas. He for some tine led a restless 
life about Europe— ^visiting Itidy, Sicily, Malta, and the south of 
Spain; troubled with attacks of rheumatism, gout, and the 
effects of a '' Hungarian fever." He had become more and more 
cynical and irascible, and had more than one " afiidr of honor," 
in one of whidi he killed his antagonist. His splenetic feelings, 
as well as his political sentimentjs, were occasionally vented in 
severe attacks upon the ministry, full of irony and sarcasm. 
They appeared in the public journals, and gained him such 
reputation, that even the papers of Junius were by some attri- 
buted to hiuL 

In the questbns which had risen between England and her 
colonies, he had strongly advocated the cause of the latter ; and 
it was the fedings tbi|S excited, and the recollections, perhaps, of 
his early campaigns, that had recently brought him to America. 
Here he had arrived in the latter part of 1773, had visited vari- 
ous parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Yir^nia, taking an 
active part in the political agitations of the country. His caustic 
attacks upon the ministry; his conversational powers and his 
poignant sallies, had gained him great reputation ; but his mili- 
tary renown rendered him especially interesting at the present 
juncture. A general, who had served in the fieunous campaigns 
of Europe, commanded Oossadcs, fought with Turks, talked with 
Frederick tlie Great, and been aide-de-camp to the king of Po- 
land, was a prodigious acquisition to the patriot cause i On the 
other hand, his visit to Boston was looked upon with uneasiness 
by the British officers, who knew his adventurous character. It 
was surmised that he was exciting a spirit of revolt, with a view 
to putting hipiself at its head. These sni^icions found their way 

382 LIVE OF WA8HINGT0H. [in4 

into the Londcm papers, and alanned the BritiBh oabinei» 
'' Have an attention to his conduct," writes Lord Sartmoath to 
Gage, '< and take every legal method to prevent his eflfocting any 
of those dtuigerons purposes he is said to have in view." 

Lee, when subsequently informed of these suspicions, scoffed 
at them in a letter to his friend, Edmund Burke, and declared 
that he had not the ^ temerity and vani^ " to aspire to the aima 
imputed to him. 

« To think myself qualified for the most important diaz)ge 
that ever was committed to mortal man," writes he, ^ is the last 
stage of presumption ; nor do I think the Americ^ms would, or 
ought to confide in a man, let his qualifications be ever so great, 
who has no property among them. It is true, I most devoutly 
wish them success in the glorious struggle ; that I have expressed 
my wishes both in writing and viva voc4 ; but my errand to 
Boston was mere curionty to see a people in so singular cir- 
cumstances; and I had likewise an ambition to be acquainted 
with some of their leading men; with them only I associated 
durbg my stay in Boston. Our ingenious gentlemen in the 
camp, therefore, very naturally concluded my design was to put 
myself at their head." 

To resume the course of events at Boston. Gage on the 1st 
of September, before this popular agitation, had issued writs for 
an election of an assembly to meet at Salem in October^ eedng, how* 
ever, the irritated state of the public mind, he now countermanded 
the same by proclamation. The people, disregarding the counter- 
mand, carried the election, and ninety of the new members thus 
elected met at the appointed time. They waited a whole day for 
Hhe governor to attend, administer the oaths, and open the ses- 
sion; but as he did not make his i^pearanoe, they voted thein* 


selves a provinoial Oongress, and obese for presideni of it John 
Hanoocky— a man of great wealth, pq)iilary and somewhat' showy 
talents, and ardent patriotism ; and eminent from his soeial po- 

Thisself-constitnted body adjourned to Concord, abont twenty 
miles from Boston ; quietly assomed supreme authority, and is- 
sued a remonstrance to the gOTcmor, virtually calling him to 
account for his military operations in fortifymg Boston Neck, 
and collecting warlike stores about him, thereby alarming the 
fidars ci the whole province, and menacing the lives and property 
of the Bostonians. 

General Gage, overlooking the irregularity of its organisatiim, 
entered into explanations with the Assembly, but failed to give 
satisfaction. As winter approached, he found his situation more 
and more criticaL Boston was the only place in Massachusetts 
that now contained British forces, and it had become the refuge 
of all the ^^tories^^ of the province; that is to say, of all those 
devoted to the British government. There was animosity be- 
tween them and the principal inhabitants, among whom revolu- 
tionary principles prevailed. The town itself, almost insulated by 
nature, and surrounded by a hostile country, was like a place 

The provincial Congress conducted its afEairs with the order 
and system so formidable to General Gage. Having adopted a 
plan for organiiing the militia, it had nominated general officers, 
two of whom, Artemas Ward and Seth Pomeroy, had accepted? 

The executive powers were vested in a committee of safety. 
This was to determine when the services of the militia were 
necessary; was to call them forth, — ^to nominate their officers to 
the Congress, — to commission them, and direct the operations of 


the anny. Another oommittee was appointed to fornidi flapj^ks 
to the forces when called out; henoe, named the Committee of 

Under such auspices, the militia went on arming and diaoi- 
plining itself in every direction. They associated themselves in 
large bodies, and engaged, verbally or by writing, to assemble in 
arms at the shortest notice for the common defence, snbjeot to tke 
orders of the committee of safety. 

Arrangements had been made fer keeping up an active cor- 
respopdence between different parts of the country, and iq^read^ 
ing an alarm in case of any threatening danger. Under the 
direction of the committees just m^itioned| large qnantiiieB 
of military stores had been oollected and deposited at Ccmootd 
and Worcester. - . 

This semi-belligerent state of affisdrs in Massadrasetts pro- 
duced a general restlessness throughout the land. The weak- 
hearted apprehended coming troubles ; the resolute prqmred to 
brave them. Military measures, hitherto confined to New £i^ 
land, extended tq the middle and southern provinces, and the roll 
of the drum resounded through the villages. 

Virginia was among the first to buckle on its armor. It had 
long been a custom among its inhabitants to form themselves into 
independent companies, equipped at their own expense, having 
their own peculiar imiferm, and eleotii^ their own offioen, 
though holding themselves subject to militia law. They had 
hitherto been self-disciplined ; but now they continually resorted 
to Washington for instruction and advice ; considering him the 
highest authority on military affiiirs. He was frequently called 
from home, therefore, in the course of the winter and q>ring, to 
difiiarent parts of the country to review independent eompaniedf 


all of whiok were anxiotus to put themseltes under his command 
as field-officer. 

Mount yem<m, &erefore, again assumed a militaiy tone as in 
former days, when he took his first lessons there in the art of war. 
He had his old campa^ning associates with him occasionally, Dr. 
Oraik and Oaptun Hu^ Mercer, to talk of past scenes and dis- 
eusB ibe possftility of future service. Mercer was afaready be- 
atirring himself in disciplining the ndlitia about Fredericksburg, 
Where he resided. 

Two decasional and important guests at Mount Yemon, in 
this momentous crisis, were General Charles Lee, of whom we 
haTe just qK)ken, and Major Horatio (}ates. As the latter is 
destined to occupy an important page in thb memoir, we will giye 
a few particulars concerning him. He was an Englishman by 
birth, the son of a captain in the British anny. Horace Wal- 
pole, whose christian name he bore, speaks of him in one of his 
letters as his godson, though some have insinuated that he stood 
in filial relationship of a less sanctified character. He had to- 
«eiYed a Kberal education, and, when but twenty-one years of age, 
had serred as a yolunteer under General Edward Oomwallis, Got- 
enunr of HalifiuL He was jftowards captam of a New York 
independent company, with which, it may be remembered, he 
mardied in the campaign of Braddock, in which he was severely 
wounded. For two or three sidbsequent years he was with hb 
tympany in the western part of the province of New York, receiv- 
ing the appointment of brigade major. He accompanied General 
Monckton as aide-de-camp to the West Indies, and gained credit 
at the eiqptnre of Martanica Being despatched to London with 
tidings of Uie victory, he was rewarded by the appointment et 
Bugor to a regiment of loot; and afterwards, as a qpecial aiar^ 

Vol. L— 17 


of royal favor, a majority in the Royal Americans. His promo- 
tion did not equal his expectations and fancied deserts. He was 
married, and wanted something more lucrative ; so he sold out on 
half-pay and became an applicant for some profitable post under 
government, which he hoped to obtun through the influenoe of 
General Monckton and some friends in the aristocracy. Thus 
several years were passed, partly with his fiunily in retirement^ 
partly in London, paying court to patrons and men in poweri 
until, finding there was no likelihood of success, and having sold 
his commission and half-pay, he emigrated to Yirginia in 1772, a 
disappointed man ; purchased an estate in Berkeley County, be- 
yond the Blue Bidge ; espoused the popular cause, and renewed 
his old campaigning acquaintanoe with Washington. 

He was now about forty-six years of age, of a florid oom- 
plexion and goodly presence, though a little inclined to oorpo- 
lency; social, insinuating, and somewhat specious in his manners, 
with a strong degree of self-approbation. A long course <^ 
solicitation; haunting public offices and antechambers, and 
^ knocking about town," had taught him, it was said, how to whee* 
die and flatter, and accommodate himself to the humors of others, 
so as to be the boon companion of gentlemen, and " hail fdlow 
well met '' with the vulgar. 

Lee, who was an old friend and former associate in arms, had 
recently been induced by him to purchase an estate in his nei^ 
borhood in Beikeley Oounty, with a view to making it his abode, 
leaving a moderate competency, a claim to land on the Ohio, and 
jthe half-pay of a British colond. Both of these officers, disappoint- 
ed in Aa British seivice, looked forward probably to greater soiv 
oess in the patriot cause. 

Lee had been at Philaddj^iia f iaoe his visit to Boston, and 


had made Iiiinself aoquainted with the leading memberB of Gon- 
grees daring the session. He was evidently ooltivating an inti- 
macy with every one likely to have influence in the approaching 

To Washington the visits <^ these gentlemen were extremely 
welcome at this jonotore, from their military knowledge and 
experience, especially as mnoh of it had been acquired in Ameri- 
ca, in the same kind of warfeure, if not the very same campaigns 
in nUch he himself had mingled. Both weriB interested in the 
popular cause. Lee was fiill of plans for the organization and 
disciplining of the militia, and occasionally accompanied Wash- 
ington in his attendance on provincial review& He was subse- 
quently very efficient at Annapolis in promoting and superintend- 
ing the organization of the Maryland militia. 

It is doubtful whether the vidts of Lee were as interesting to 
Mrs. Washington as to the goieraL He was whimsical, eccentric, 
and at times almost rude ; negligent also, and slovenly in person 
and attire; {of though he had occasionally associated with kings 
and princes, he had also campaigned with Mohawks and Cossacks, 
and seems to have relished their "good breeding." What was still 
more annoying in a well regulated mansion, he was always fol- 
lowed by a legion of dogs, which shared his affections with his 
horses, and took their seats by him when at table. " I must 
have some object to embrace," said he misanthropically. " When 
I can be convinced ih&t men are as worthy objects as dogs, I shall 
transfix my benevolence, and become as staunch a philanthropist 
as the canting Addison affected to be." * 

Li his passion for horses and dogs, Washington, to a certain 
degree, could sympathize with him, and had noble specimens of 

* Lee to Adams. IMe and Works of Adamf, iL, 414^ 


both in his stable and kennel, whioh Lee doubtless inspected with 
a learned eye. Boring the season in question, Washington, ao- 
cording to his diary, was occasionally in the saddle at an early 
hour following the foz-hounds. It was the last time for many a 
year that he was to gallop about his beloved hunting-grounds of 
Mount Yemon and Belvoir. 

In the month of March the second Virginia couTention was 
held at Biohmond. Washington attended as delegate from Fair- 
fiix Oounty. In this assembly, Patrick Henry, with his usual 
ardor and eloquence, advocated measures for embodying, aiming 
and disciplining a militia force, and providing for die defenqd of 
the colony. '* It is useless," said he, '< to address further peti- 
tions to government, or to await the effect of those already ad- 
dressed to the throne. The time for supplication is past ; the 
time for action is at hand. We must fight, Mr. Speaker," ex- 
claimed he emphatically; '' I repeat it, sir, we must fight 1 An 
appeal to arms, and to the Gtod of Hosts, is all that is left lis i " 

Washington joined him in the conviction, and was one of a 
committee that reported a plan for carrying those measures int^ 
effect He was not an impulsive man to raise the battle cry, but 
the executive man to marshal the troops into the field, and earry 
on the war. 

His brother, John Augustine, was raising and disciplining an 
independent company; Washington offered to accept the com- 
mand of it, shouM occasion require it to be drawn out He did 
the same with respect to an independent company at Eichmond. 
<< It is my full intention, if needful," writes he to his brotheri 
'^ to devote my life and fortune to the cau^J*^ * 

* Letter to John Angostiiie. SparkB, H, 406. 


nnrATUATioN in bbhibh oouNciiB^-ooLoina. oraiit, thi bkaoqast— ooEBcmi 
lOASDBn — sxpsDinoii AOAocn m ioukart icaoazdix at oonoobi>— bat- 
VLE or uzmcnoxf— ^iHi ost of blood thboucoi ihb lard— oid sououbb of 


.While the spirit of revolt was daily gaioing strength and deter- 
mination in America, a strange infi&tuation reigned in tlie British 
cooncihi. While the wisdom and eloquence of Chatham were ex- 
erted in Tain in behalf of American rights, an empty braggadooiO| 
elevated to a seat in Parliament, was able to captivate the atten- 
tion of the members, and inflnence their votes by gross mis* 
representations of the Americans and their cause. This was no 
other than Colonel Grant, the same shallow soldier who, exceed- 
ing his instructions, had been guilty of a foolhardy bravado before 
the walls of Fort Duquesne, which brought slaughter and defeat 
upon his troops. From misleading the army, he was now pro- 
moted to a station where he inight ftiislead the councils of his 
country. We ate told that he entertained Parliament, espeiually 

390 MM OF WASHINGTON. [1775. 

the ministerial side of the House, with ludicrous stories of the 
cowardice of Americans. He had served with them, he said, and 
knew them well, and would venture to say they would never 
dare to &ce an English army; that they were destitute of every 
requisite to make good soldiers, and that a very slight force 
would he sufficient for their complete reduction. With five regi- 
ments, he could march through all America I 

How often has England been misled to her cost by such slan* 
derous misrepresentations of the American character! Grant 
talked of having served with the Americans ; had he already for- 
gotten that in the field of Braddock's defeat, when the British 
regulars fled, it was alone the desperate stand of a handful of 
Virginians, which covered their disgraceful flight, and saved them 
from being overtaken and massacred by the savages ? 

This taunting and braggart speech of Grant was made in the 
face of the oonciliatoiy bill of the venerable Chatham, devised 
with a view to redress the wrongs of America. The councils of 
the arrogant and scornful prevailed; and instead of the proposed 
bill, further measures of a stringent nature were adopted, coercive 
of some of the middle and southern colonies, but ruinous to the 
trade and fisheries of New England. 

At length the bolt, so long suspended, fell i The troops at Bos- 
ton had been augmented to about four thousand men. Graded on 
by the instigations of the tories, and alarmed by the energetio 
measures of the whigs, General Ckge now resolved to deal the 
latter a crippling blow. This was to surprise and destroy their 
magazine of military stores at Concord, about twenty miles from 
Boston. It was to be eflected on the night of the 18th of April, 
by a force detached for the purpose. 

Preparations were made with great secrecy. Boats for the 


iraBBportatioii of the troops were kanohed, and moored under the 
stems of the men-of-war. Grenadiers and light infeaitry were 
relieyed from duty, and held in readiness. On the ISth, officers 
were stationed on the roads leading from Boston, to prevent any 
intelligence of the expedition getting into the country. At night 
orders were issued by General Chige ih&t no person should leave 
the town* About ten o'clock, firom eight to nine hundred men, 
grenadiers, light infantry, and marines, commanded by Lieuten- 
ant-colonel Smith, embarked in the boats at the foot of Boston 
Common, and crossed to Lechmere Point, in Cambridge, whence 
diey were to march silently, and without beat of drum, to the 
place of destination. 

The measures of General Gage had not been shrouded in all 
the secrecy he imagined* Mystery often defeats itself by the 
suspicions it awakens. Dr. Joseph Warren, one of the committee 
of safety, had observed the preparatory disposition of the boats 
and troops, and surmised some sinister intention. He sent notice 
of these movements to John Hancock and Samuel Adams, both 
members of the provincial Congress, but at that tin^e privately 
sojourning with a friend at Lexington. A design on the maga- 
line at Concord was suspected, and the committee of safety or- 
dered that the cannon collected there should be secreted, and 
part of the stores removed. 

On the night of the 18th, Br. Warren sent off two messengers 
by different routes to give the alarm that the king's troops were 
actually sallying forth. The messengers got out of Boston just 
before the order of General Gage went into effect, to prevent any 
one from leaving the town. About the same time a lantern was 
hung out of an upper window of the north church, in the direction 
of Charlestown. This was a preconcerted signal to the patriots 

392 un ojr WABaufoxoir. p^i^ 

of thftt piaoe, who inttanily deipatohed 8wift ] 
the country. 

In the mean timei Oolonel Smith set out on his nootRnuil 
march firom Lechmere Point bj an nnfireqnented path acnm 
marshes, where at tunes the troops had to vade dvoagh mitei; 
He had proceeded but a few miles when alazm. gonsi boomiDg 
through the night air, and the dang of village JmUsi showed tha* 
the news of his ap|ffoaoh was traTeDing before him, and the peo- 
ple were rising. He now sent back to Oeneial Gage for a lem^ 
foroement, while Major Pitcaime was detached with six oompanieg 
to press forward, and secnre the bridges at Ooneord* 

Pitcum adranoed rapidly, capturing eveiy one that he met| 
or oyertook. Within a mile and half <^ Lexiogton, however, a 
horseman was too quick on the spur for him, and gaUopmg to the 
Tillage, gave ike alarm that the redcoats were coming. Drama 
were beaten; guns fired. By the time that Pitcaim entered the 
Tillage, about seTenty or eighty of die yeomanry, in military 
array, were mustered on the green near die churoL It was a 
part of the ^' constitutional army," pledged to resist by force any 
open hostility of British troops. Beudes these, there were a nam* 
ber of lookers on, armed and unarmed." 

The sound of drum, and the array of men in arms, indicated m 
hostile determination. Pitcaim halted his men within a short 
distance of the diuroh, and ordered them to prime and bad. 
They then adTanced at double quick time. The mi^or, riding 
forward, waTed his sword, and ordered the rebels, as he termed 
them, to disperse. Qther of the officers .echoed hia words as they 
adTanced: ''Disperse, ye Tillains! Lay down your arms, ye 
rebels, and disperse I " The orders were disregarded. A scene 
of confusion ensued, with firing on both sidesf which party oom- 


SMii'oed it, lias been a matter of dispute. Pitcaim always main- 
tained that, finding the militia wonld not disperse, he tamed 
to order bis men to draw out, and surround them, when he saw a 
lash in the pan firom the gun of a countryman posted behind a 
wall, and ahnost instantly the report of two or three muskets. 
These he supposed to be from the Americans, as his horse was 
wounded, as was also a soldier close by him. His troops rushed 
en, and a promiscuous fire took place, though, as he declared, he 
made repeated signals with his sword for his men to forbear. 

The firing of the Americans was irregular, and without much 
eflbot; that of the British was more fatal Eight of the patriots 
were killed, and ten wounded, and the whole put to flight. The 
Tiotors formed on the common, fired a volley, and gave three cheers 
for one of the most inglorious and disastrous triumphs ever 
aehieyed by British arms. 

Oolonel Smith soon arrived with the residue of the detach- 
ment, and they all marched on towards Concord, about six miles 

The alarm had reached that place in the dead hour of the 
preceding night. The church bell roused the inhabitants. They 
gathered together in anxious consultation The militia and min- 
ute men seised their arms, and repaired to the parade ground, 
near the church. Here they were subsequently joined by armed 
yeomanry from Lincoln, and elsewhere. Exertions were now 
made to remove and conceal the military stores. A scout, who 
had been sent out for intelligence, brought word that the British 
had fired upon the people at Lexington, and were advancing upon 
Concord. There was great excitement and indignation. Part 
of the militia mardied down the Lenngton road to meet them, 
but rttomed, reporting their force to be three times that of the 

Vol. I.— 17* 


Americans. The whale of the militia now retired to a& < 

about a mile from the centre of the tow% and formed themselTes 

into two battalions. 

About seven o'clock, the British came in si^t, advaneiDg 
with quick step, their arms glittering in the morning sun. They 
entered in two divisions by different roads. Concord is traversed 
by a river of the same name, having two bridges, the north and 
the south. The grenadiers and light infantry took post in the 
centre of the town, while strong parties of li^t tro(^ were de- 
tached to secure the bridges, and destroy the military store& 
Two hours were expended in the work of destruction without 
much success, so much of the stores having be^i removed, or 
concealed. During all this time the yeomanry from the neigh- 
boring towns were hurrying in with such weapons as were at 
hand, and joining the militia on the height, until the little doud 
of war gathering there numbered about four hundred and fifty. 

About ten o'clock, a body of three hundred undertook to dis- 
lodge the British from the north bridge. As they approached, 
the latter fired upon them, killing two, and woundii^ a thbd. 
The patriots returned the fire with spirit and effect. The British 
retreated to the main body, the Americans pursuing them aorosa 
the bridge. 

By this time all the military stores iriiich could be found had 
been destroyed ; Colonel Smith, tiierefore, made preparations for a 
retreat The scattered troops were collected, the dead were 
buried, and conveyances procured for the wounded. About noon 
he commenced his retrograde march for Boston. It was high 
time. His troops were jaded by the night march, and the morn- 
ing's toils and skirmishings. 

The country was thoroughly alarmed. The yeomanxy were 

ms.] BBTALIATION. 895 

ImriTing from every quarter to the soene of action. As the 
British began their retreat, the Americans b^;an the work of 
sore and galling retaliation. Along the open road, the former 
were harassed incessantly by rustic marksmen, who took deliber- 
ate aim from behind trees, or over stone fences. Where the road 
passed through woods, the British found themselves between two 
fires, dealt by unseen foes, the minute men haying posted them- 
selves on each side among the bushes. It was in vain they threw 
out flankers, and endeavored to dislodge their assailants ; each 
pause gave time for other pursuers to come within reach, and 
open attacks from different quarters. For several miles they 
urged their way along woody defiles, or roads skirted with fences 
and stone walls, the retreat growbg more and more disastrous ; 
some were shot down, some gave out through mere exhaustion; 
the rest hurried on, without stopping to aid the fatigued, or 
wounded. Before reaching Lexington, Colonel Smith received a 
severe wound in the leg, and the situation of the retreating troops 
was becoming extremely critical, when, about two o'clock, they 
were met by Lord Percy, with a brigade of one thousand men, 
and two field-pieces. His lordship had been detached from Bos- 
ton about nine o'clock by General G«ge, in compliance with Colo- 
nel Smith's urgent call for a reinforcement, and had marched 
gaily throng Boxbury to the tune of '' Yankee Doodle," in de- 
rision of the " rebels." He now found the latter a more formi- 
dable foe than he had anticipated. Opening his brigade to Ih^ 
right and left, he received the retreating troops into a hollow 
0quare ; where, fainting and exhausted, they threw themselves on 
the ground to rest. His lordship showed no disposition to ad- 
vance upon their assailants, but contented himself with keeping 


them at bay -with his field-pieoes, which opened a vigoroos ftre 
from an emiiieiioe. 

Hitherto the Froyinoials, being hasty leyiee, without a leader^ 
had acted from individnal impulfle, without much concert; but 
now C^eral Heath was upon the gromuL He was one of those 
anthorised to take command when Ihe minote men shoold be 
called (Alt That class of combatants promptly obeyed his or- 
ders, and he was efficacioos in rallying them, and bringing them 
into military ordw, when checked and scattered by the fire of the 

Dr. Warren, also, arrived on horsebadc, haying qmrred from 
Boston on reoeiying news of ih/e skLrmiahing. In the sobeeqneni 
part of the day, he was one of the most active and efficient men 
in the field. His presence, like that of Gteneral Heath, regulated 
the infuriated ardor of the militia, and brought it into system. 

Lord Percy, having allowed the troops a short int^ral for 
repose and refreshment, continued the retreat toward Bostcm. 
As soon as he got under march, the gidling assault by the pursiK 
ing yeomanry was recommenced in flank and rear. The British 
soldiery, irritated in turn, acted as if in an enemy's countiy« 
Houses and shops were burnt down in Lexington ; private dweUU 
ings along the road were plundered, and their inhaUtasta mal- 
treated. Tjk one instance, an unoffending inyalid waa wantooly 
slain in his own house. All this inceeased the esaqwration of 
the ye(Mnanry. There was occasional sharp skirmlahinft with 
bloodshed on both aides, but in general a dogged pursuit, where 
the retreating troops were galled at every step. Their mmk 
became more and more impeded by the number of their wounded. 
Lord Percy narrowly escaped death from a musket-baU, vdiioh 
struck off a button of his waistcoat One of his offieera remained 

m&] THX CHASS. 397 

behind wounded in West Camhridge. His ammnniiiim wm fiik 
ing as he approached Charlestown. The prorineials piesaed iq>on 
him in rear, otlfws were advanoing from Rozbory, Dorchester, 
and Milton; Colonel Pickering, with the Essex militia, seren 
hundred strong, was at hand ; there was danger of being inter<> 
eepted m the retreat to Charlestown. The field-faeces were 
again brought into ^y, to ohecik the ardor of the pnrsoit; but 
they were no longer objects of tenor* The sharpest firing of the 
proyincials was near Prospect Hill, as the harassed enemy hor^ 
ried along the Charlestown road, eager to reach the Neck, and 
get nnder corer of their ships. The porsoit t^minated a little 
after sunset, at Charlestown Common, where General Heath 
brought the mumte men to a halt Within half an hour more, a 
powerful body of men, from MarUehead and Salem, came up to 
join in the chase. '< If the retreat," writes Washington, *^ had 
not been as precipitate as it was,— and €k>d knows it could not 
well have been more so, — ^the ministerial troops must have 8ur« 
r^Didered, or been totally cut o£" 

The distant firing from the mainland had reached the British 
at Boston. The troops which, in the.mortung, had marched 
through Boxbuiy, to tfie tune of Yankee Doodle, mi^^t have 
been seen at sunset, hounded along the old Cambridge road to 
CharlestowB Kecik, by mere armed yeomanry. Gage was as- 
tounded at the catastrophe. It was but a short time prerious 
that one of his officers, in writing to friends in England, scoffed 
at tiie idea ot the Americans taking i^ arms. '' Whenever it 
comes to blows," said he, <'he that can ran the fiurtest, will think 
himself well off, beUeve me. Any two r^gimoits here oug^t to be 
dedmated, if they did not beat in the fidd the whole force of 
the Massachusetts province." How frequently, throuj^out this 

398 LIFE OF WASHiNaTOK. [ms. 

BevolaticA, had the English to paj the penalty of thus nndtfval- 
oing the apirit they were proToking i 

In this memorable affiur, the British loss was seventy-three 
killed, one hundred and seroity-foar wonnded, and twenty-six 
missing. Among the slain were eighteen officers. The loss of 
the Americans was forty-nine killed, thirty-nine wounded, and 
five missing. This was the first blood shed in the rcTolotionarj 
straggle; a mere drop in amount, but a deluge in its effects,— 
rending the colonies for erer from the mother country. 

The cry of blood from the field of Lexington, went through 
the land. None felt the appeal more than the old soldiers of the 
French war. It roused John Stark, of New Hampshire— a 
trapper and hunter in his youth, a veteran in Indian war&re, a^ 
campaigner under Aber<»rombie and Amherst, now the nulitary 
oracle of a rustic neighborhood. Within ten minutes after re- 
ceiving the alarm, he was spurring towards the sea-coast, and on 
the way stirring up the volunteers of the Massachusetts borders, 
to assemble forthwith at Bedford, in the vicinity of Boston. 

Equally alert was his old comrade in frontier exploits, 
Colonel Israel Putaiam. A man on horseba^ with a drum, 
passed through his neighborhood in Connecticut, proclaiming 
British violence at Lexington. Putnam was in the fidd plough- 
ing, assisted by his son. In ah instant the team was unyoked ; 
the plou^ left in the furrow ; the lad sent home to give word of 
his father's departure ; and Putnam, on horseback, in his woikii^ 
garb, urging with all speed to the ciunp. Such was the spirit 
aroused throughout the country. The sturdy yeomanry, from all 
parts, were hastening toward Boston witii such weapons as were 
at hand ; and happy was he who could command a rusty fowling- 
piece and a powder-horn. 


The nawB reached Yirginia at a oritioal moment Lord Ban- 
more, obeying a general order issued by the ministry to all tho 
provincial goyemorS) had seised upon the military munitions of 
the province. Here was a similar measure to that of Ghge* 
The cry went forth that the subjugation of the colonies was to be 
attOTipted« All Virginia was in combustion. The standard of 
liberty was reared in every county; there was a general cry to 
arms. Washington was loolrod to, from various quarters, to take 
command. His old comrade in arms, Hugh Mercer, was about 
marching down to Williamsburg at the head of a body of reso- 
lute men, seven hundred strong, entitled '* The friends of consti- 
tutional liberty and America," whom he had organised and 
drilled in Fredericksburg, and nothing but a timely concession of 
Lord Bunmore, with respect to some powder which he had seised, 
prevented his being beset in his palace. 

Before Hugh Mercer and the Friends of Liberty disbanded 
themselves, they exchanged a mutual pledge to reassemble at a 
moment's warning, whenever called on to defend the liberty and 
ri^ts of this or any other sister colony. 

Washington was at Mount Yemon, preparing to set out for 
Philade^>hia as a delegate to the second Congress, when he re- 
ceived tidings of the affiur at Lexington. Bryan Fair&x and 
Major Horatio Gates were his guests at the time. They all re- 
garded the event as decisive in its consequences; but they 
regarded it with diffsrent feelings. The worthy and gentle- 
spirited Fair&x deplored it deeply. He foresaw that it must 
break up all his pleasant relations in life; arraying his dearest 
friends against the government to which, notwithstanding the 
errors of its policy, he was loyally attached and resolved to 

400 UFE OF WASHIKGTON. [1771. 

OateB, on the oostrary, Tiewed it with the eye of a soldier and 
a plaoe-hcmter — hidierto disappointed in both, capacities. This 
event promised to open a new avenue to importance and com* 
mand, and he determined to enter npon it. 

Washington's feelings were of a mingled nature. They may 
be gathered from a letter to his friend and nei^bori (George Wil- 
liam Fairfax, then in England, in which he lays the blame of 
this ^depbrable affidr" on the ministry and their military 
agents; and conclades with the following words, in which the 
yeamii^ of the patriot giye affecting solemnity to the implied 
resolve of the soldier : '' Unhappy it is to i^eot that a brother's 
ewQ^ has been dieathed in a brother's breast; and that the once 
happy and peaoefol plains of America, are to be either drenched 
with blood or inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative t But can 
a virtuous man hentaU in his choics 9 " 

mnjBBHQ or tboopb nr ram xabv— <ia]ip at BOflTON-^GKNiRAL abthcab wabd— 


At the eastward, the march of the Berolntioii went on with ac- 
celerated q^eed. Thirty thonBand men had been deemed neces- 
sary £[>r the defence of the country. The proyinoial Congress of 
Massachusetts reeohred to raise thirteen thousand six hnndredy 
as its quota. Circular letters, also, were issued by the com- 
mittee of safety, urging the towns to enlist troops with all speed, 
and calling for military aid from the other New England 

Their appeals were promptly answered. Bodies of militia, 
and parties of yolunteers from New Hampshire, Bhode Island 
and Connecticut, hastened to join the minute men of Massachu- 
setts in forming a camp in the nei^borhood of Boston. Witb 
the troops of Connecticut, came Israel Putnam ; haying recently 
raised a regiment in that proyince, and receiyed frt>m its Assem- 
bly tiie commission of brigadier-general Some of hip old Dom- 
rades in French and Indian war£ure, had hastened to join his 

402 iiiFB OF wASHmaTOH. [ins. 

Btandard. Such were two of his captains, Durkee and Enowlton* 
The latter, who was his especial favorite, had foo^t by his side 
when a mere bo j. 

The command of the camp was given to (General Art«ma8 
Ward, already mentioned. He was a native of Shrewsbnrj, in 
Massachusetts, and a veteran of the seven years' war — having 
served as lieutenant-colonel under Abercrombie. He had, like- 
wise, been a member of the legislative bodies, and had recently 
been made, by the provincial Congress of Massadiusetts, com- 
mander-in-chief of its forces. 

As affairs were now drawing to a crisis, and war was consid- 
ered inevitable, some bold spirits in G(mnecticut conceived a 
project for the outset. This was the surprisal of the old forts 
of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, already famous in the French 
war. Their situation on Lake Champlain gave them the com- 
mand of the main route to Canada ; so that the possession of 
them would be all-important in case of hostilitieB. They ware 
feebly garrisoned and negligently guarded, and abundantly fiir- 
nished with artillery and militaiy st<Mres, so much needed by the 
patriot army. 

This scheme was set on foot in the purlieus, as it were, of the 
provincial Legislature of Connecticut, then in session* It was 
not openly sanctioned by that body, but secretly favored, and 
money lent from the treasury to those engaged in it. A com* 
mittee was appointed, also, to accompany them to the frontier, aid 
them in raising troops, and exercise over them a degree of siq>er- 
intendence and control 

Sixteen men were thus enlisted in Connecticut, a greater 
number in Massachusetts, but the greatest accession of force, was 
jfrom what was called the " New Hampshire Grants." This was 


a region haying the Oonneefcioat Biyer on one side, and Lake 
Ghamplain and the Hndson Biyer on the other — being, in 
fact, tiie country forming the present State of Yermont. It 
had long been a disputed territory, claimed by New York and 
New Hampshire. George IL had decided in &yor of New 
York; bat the €h)yemor of New Hampshire had made grants of 
between one and two hundred townships in it, whence it had 
acquired the name of the New Hampshire Grants. The^settlera 
on those grants resisted the attempts of New York to eject them, 
and formed themselyes into an association, called '' The Green 
Mountain Boys.*' Besolute, strong-handed fellows they were, 
with Ethan Allen at their head, a natiye of Connecticut, but 
brought up among the Green Mountains. He and his lieutenants, 
Beth Warner and Bemember Baker, were outlawed by the Leg- 
islature of New York, and rewards offered for their apprehension. 
They and their associates armed themselyes, set New York at 
defiance, and swore they would be the death of any one who should 
attempt their arrest 

Thus Ethan Allen was becoming a kind of Bobin Hood 
among the mountains, when the present crisis changed the rela* 
tiye position of things as if by magic. Boundary feuds were 
forgotten amid the great questions of colonial rights. Ethan 
Allen at once stepped forward, a patriot, and yolunteered with 
his Green Mountain Boys to serye in the popular cause. He was 
well fitted for the enterprise in question, by his experience as a 
frontier champion, his robustness of mind and body, and his fear- 
less spirit He had a kind of rough eloquence, also, that was 
fery effectiye with his followers. " His style," says one, who 
knew him personally, '^ was a singular compound of local barbar- 
isms, scriptural phrases, and oriental wildness ; and thou^^ un- 

404 LIFB OF WAEfHIKGTON. [11*15. 

tAnmio^ and sometimes Trngrammatioal, was lughly animated and 
ft>roiUe." Washington, in one of his letters, says there was 
^ an original something in him which commanded admiration.*' 

Thus reinforoed, the pturtj, now two hnndred and serenty 
stroi^, pudied forward to Oastleton, a place within a few miles 
of the head of Lake Ghamplain. Here a oonndl of war was 
hM on the 2d of May. Ethan Allen was placed at the head of 
liie expedition, with James Easton and Beth Warner aa seoond 
and tiiird in command. Detachments were sent off to Skenes- 
borongh (now Whitehall), and another place on the lake, with 
orders to seise all the boats they oonld find and bring them to 
Shoreham, opposite Tioonderoga, whither Allen prepared to pro- 
ceed with the main body. 

At this juncture, another adyentorons spirit arrived at Cas- 
tleton. This was Bekbdict Arnold, since so sadly renowned. 
He, too, had conceired the project of surprising Ticonderoga and 
Orown Point ; or, perhaps, had caught tibe idea from its first agi- 
tators in Connecticut, — ^in the militia of which prorince he held 
a captain's commission. He had proposed the scheme to the 
Massachusetts committee of safety. It had met irith their appro- 
bation. They had given him a oolonePs commission, authorized 
him to raise a force in Western Massachusetts, not exceeding four 
hundred men, and furnished him with money and means. Arnold 
had enlisted but a few officers and men when he heard of the 
expedition from Connecticut being on the march. He instantly 
hurried on wil^ one attendant to overtake it, leaving his few re- 
cruits to follow, as best they could : in this way he reached Cas- 
tleton just after the council of war. 

Producing the colonel's commission received from the Massa- 
chusetts committee of safety, he now aspired to the supreme 


eommuid. His clums were diBregaided by the Oreen Mountak 
Boys ; they would follow no leader bat Ethan Allen. As tiiey 
formed the majority of the party, Arnold was &in to aoqaiesoe, 
and serve as a volmiteer, with the rank, but not the command of 

The party arrived at Shoreham, opposite Tioonderoga, on the 
night of the 9th of May. The detachmoit sent in qmest of boats 
had failed to arrive. There were a few boats at hand, wilii 
which the transportation was oimmienced. It was slow work; 
the ni^t wore away ; day was abont to break, and but ei^^ty* 
three men, with Allen and Arnold, had crossed. Should they 
wait for the residae, day would dawn, the garrison wake, and 
tiieir enterprise might faiL Allen drew up his men, addressed 
them in his own emphatic siyle, and announced his intention to 
make a dash at the fort^ without waiting for more force. '' It is 
a desperate attempt," said he, <' and I ask no man to go agaiost 
his wilL I will take the lead, and be the first to advance. You 
that are willing to follow, poise your firelocks.'' Not a firelock 
but wfUi poised. 

They mounted the hill briskly, but in silence, guided by a 
boy from the neigl4)orhood. The day dawned as Allen arrived 
at a sally port. A sentry pulled trigger on him, but his piece 
missed fire. He retreated through a covered way. AUen and 
his men followed. Another sentry ^rust at Easton with his 
bayonet, but was struck down by Allen, and begged for quarter. 
It was granted on condition of his leading the way instantly 
to the quarters of the commandant, Captain Delaplaoe, who was 
yet in bed. Bemg arrived there, Allen thundered at the door, 
and demanded a surrender of the fort. By this time his fdlow* 
ers had formed into two lines on the parade-ground, and given 

406 LIFB OF WASmNGTON. [1775. 

three hearty cheers. The oommandant ai^>eared at hk door half- 
dressed, '* the frightened face of his pretty wife peering over his 
shoulder." He gased at Allen in bewildered astoni^ment 
''By whose authority do you act?" exclaimed he. ''In the 
name of the great Jehovah, and the Continental Congress ! " re- 
plied Allen, with a flourish of his sword, and an oath which we 
do not care to subjoin. 

There was no disputing the point. The garrison, like the 
commander, had been startled from sleep, and made prisoners as 
they rushed forth in their confdsion. A surrender accordingly 
took place. The captain, and forty-eight men, which composed 
his garrison, were sent prisoners to Hartford, in Connecticut. 
A great supply of military and naval stores, so important in the 
present crisis, vms found in the fortress. 

Colonel Beth Wam^, who had brought over the residue of 
the party from Shoreham, vms now sent with a detaohm^t 
against Crown Point, which surrendered on the 12th of May, 
without firing a gun ; the whole garrison being a sergeant and 
twelve men. Here were taken upward of a hundred cannon. 

Arnold now insisted vehemently on his right to command 
Ticonderoga; being, 9S he said, the only officer invested with 
legal authority. His claims had again to yield to the superior 
popularity of Ethan Allen, to whom the Connecticut committee, 
which had accompanied the enterprise, gave an instrument in 
writing, investing him with the command of the fortress, and ita 
dependencies, until he should receive the orders of the Connecti- 
cut Assembly, or the Continental Congress. Arnold, while 
forced to acquiesce, s^t a protest, and a statement of his griev- 
ances to the Massachusetts Legislatura In the mean time, his 
chagrin was appeased by a new project. The detachment origi- 

l^'TB.] A DASH AT ST. JOHN'S. 407 

nally sent to seize upon boats at Skenesboronghy arrived with a 
schooner, and eeyeral bateaux. It was immediately concerted 
between Allen and Arnold to cruise in them down the lake, and 
surprise St. John's, on the Sorel Biyer, the frontier post of Can- 
ada. The schooner was accordingly armed with cannon from the 
fort. Arnold, who had been a seaman in his youth, took the 
command of her, while AUen and his Green Mountain Boys em- 
barked in the bateau2L 

Arnold outsailed the other craft, and arriying at St. John's, 
surprised and made prisoners of a sergeant and twelye men; cap- 
tured a king's sloop of seyenty tons, with two brass six-pounders 
and seyen men; took four bateaux, destroyed seyeral others, 
and then, learning that troops were on the way from Montreal 
and Chamblee, spread all his sails to a &yoring breese, and swept 
up the lake with his prizes and prisoners, and some yaluable 
stores, which he had secured. 

He had not sailed far when he met Ethan Allen and the bat- 
eaux. Salutes were exchanged ; cannon on one side, musketry 
on the other. Allen boarded the sloop ; learnt from Arnold the 
particulars of his success, and determined to push on, take pos- 
session of St. John's, and garrison it with <me hundred of his 
€hreen Mountain Boys. He was foiled in the attempt by the su- 
perior force which had arrived ; so he returned to his station at 

Thus a partisan band, unpractised in the art of war, had, by 
a series of daring exploits, and almost without the loss of a man, 
won for the patriots the command of Lakes G^rge and OhamplaiUi 
and thrown open the great highway to Canada. 



Thb seoond General CoDgress aasemUed at Philadelpliia on the 
10th of May. Peyton Bandolph was again eleeted as preeident ; 
but being obliged to retnnii and ooenpy his plaoe as speaker of 
the Yirgmia Assembly, John Hanoook, of MassadnisettSy wai 
eleyated to the chair. 

A lingering feeling of attachment to the mother oonntry, 
straggling with the growing spirit of self-government, was mani- 
fested in the proceedings of this remarkable body. Many of 
those most actiye in rindicating colonial ri^ts, and Washii^ton 
among the number, still indulged the hope of an evraitnal recon* 
ciliatbn, while few entertained, or, at least, avowed the idea of 
complete independence. 

A second "humble and dutiful" petition to the king was 
moved, but met with strong oppositioa John Adams condemned 
it as an imbecile. measure, calculated to embarrass the proceed- 


iDgs of Congress. He was for prompt and vigorous action. 
Other members concurred with him. Indeed, the measure itself 
seemed but a mere form, intended to reconcile the half-scrupu- 
lous,* for subsequently, when it was carried, Congress, in face of 
it, went on to assume and exercise the powers of a soyereign au- 
thority. A federal union was formed, leaving to each colony the 
right of regulating its internal aSairs according to its own indi- 
vidual constitution, but vesting in Congress the power of making 
peace or war; of entering into treaties and allianoes; of r^;ulat- 
ing general oonuneroe ; in a word, of legislating on all such mat- 
ters as regarded the security and welfare of the whole community. 

The executive power was to be vested in a council of twelve, 
chosen by Congress from among its own members, and to hold 
office for a limited time. Such colonies as had not sent delegates 
to Congress, might yet become members of the confederacy by 
agreeing to its conditions. Georgia, which had hitherto hesi- 
tated, soon joined the league, which thus extended from Nova 
Scotia to Florida. 

Congress lost no time in exercising their federated powers. 
In virtue of them, they ordered the enlistment of troops, the 
eonstruotion of forts in various parts of the colonies, the provision 
of arms, ammunition, and military stores ; while to defray the 
expense of these, and other measures^ avowedly of self defence, 
they authorised the emission of notes to the amount of three mil- 
lions of dollars, bearing the inscription of '^ The United Colo- 
nies ; " the faith of the confederacy being pledged for their re- 

A retaliating decree was passed, prohibiting all supplies of 
provisions to the British fisheries ; and another, declaring the 
province of Massachusetts Bay ab3olved from itp compact ^itl^ 

Vol. T.— 18 


the crown, by the yiolation of its charter ; and recommending it 
to form an internal goremment for itself. 

The public sense of Washington's military talents and expe- 
rience, was evinced in his being chairman of all the committees 
appointed for military affiiirs. Most of the rules and regulations 
for the army, and the measures for defence, were devised by him. 

The situation of the New England army, actually besieging 
Boston, became an early uid absorbing consideration. It was 
without munitions of war, without arms, clothing, or pay ; in 
fact, without legislative countenance or encouragement. I^nless 
sanctioned and assisted by Congress, there was danger of its dis- 
solution. If dissolved, how could another be collected ? If dis- 
solved, what would there be to prevent the British from sallying 
out of Boston, and spreading desolation throughout the country ? 

All this was the subject of much discussion out of doors. 
The disposition to uphold the army was general ; but the difficult 
question was, who should be commander-in-chief? Adams, in his 
diary, gives us glimpses of the conflict of opinions and interests 
within doors. There was a southern party, he said, which could 
not brook the idea of a New England army, commanded by a 
New England general "Whether this jealousy was sincere," 
writes he, '^ or whether it was mere pride, and a haughty ambi- 
tion of furnishing a soutl^em general to command the northern 
army, I cannot say ; but the intention was very visible to me, 
that Oolonel Washington was their object; and so many of our 
stanthest men were in the plan, that we could carry nothing 
without conceding to it. There was another embarrassment, 
which was never publicly known, and which was carefully con- 
cealed by those who knew it : the Massachusetts and other New 
England delegates were divided. Mr. Hancock and Mr. Gushiiig 


hoDg back ; Mr. Paine did not oome forward, and eren Mr. Sam- 
uel Adams was irresolute. Mr. Hancock himself had ui ambi- 
tion to be appointed oommander-in-ohie£ Whether he thought 
an election a compliment due to him, and intended to have the 
honor of declining it, or whether he would haye accepted it, I 
know not. To the compliment, he had some pretensions ; for, at 
that time, his exertions, sacrifices, and general merits in the cause 
of his country, had been incomparably greater than those of 
Colonel Washington. But the delicacy of his health, and his en- 
tire want of experience in actual service, though an excellent 
militia officer, were decisiye objections to him in my mind." 

(General Charles Lee was at that time in Philadelphia. His 
former visit had made him well acquainted with the leading mem- 
bers of Congress. The active interest he had manifested in the 
cause was well knovm, and the public had an almost extravagant 
idea of his military qualifications. He was of foreign birth, how- 
ever, and it was deemed improper to confide the supreme com- 
mand to any but a native-bom American. In fSftct, if he was 
sincere in what we have quoted firom his letter to Burke, he did 
not aspire to such a signal mark of confidence. 

The opinion evidently inclined in favor of Washington ; yet 
it was promoted by no clique of partisans or admirers. More 
than one of the Virginia delegates, says Adams, were cool on 
the subject of this appointment ; and particularly Mr. Pendleton, 
was clear and full against it. It is scarcely necessary to add, that 
Washington in this, as in every other situation in life, made no 
step in advance to ol^^tch the impending honor. 

Adams, in his diary, claims the credit of bringing the mem- 
bers of Congress to a decision. Rising in his place, one day, 
and stating briefly, but earnestly, the exigencies of the case, he 


moTed that Congress should adopt the army at Cambridge, and 
appoint a general Though this was not the time to nominate the 
person, " jet,'' adds he, " as I had reason to beliere this was a 
point of some difficulty, I had no hesitation to declare, that I 
had but one gentleman in my mind for that important command, 
and that was a gentleman from Virginia, who was among us and 
yery well known to all of us; a goiileman, whose skill and expe- 
rience as an officer, whose independent fortune, great talents, and 
excellent universal character would command the approbation of 
all America, and unite the cordial exertions of all the colonies 
better than any other person in the Union. Mr. Washington, 
who happened to sit near the door, as soon as he heard me allude . 
to him, from his usual modesty, darted into the library-room. 
Mr. Hancock, who was our president, which gave me an oppor- 
tunity to observe his countenance, while I was speaking on the 
state of the colonies, the army at Cambridge, and the enemy, 
heard me with visible pleasure; but when I came to describe 
Washington for the commander, I never remarked a more sudden 
and striking change of countenance. Mortification and resent- 
ment were expressed as forcibly as his face could exhibit thenL^* 

« When the subject came under debate, several delegates op- 
posed the appointment of Washington ; not from personal objeo- 
tions, but because the army were all from New England, and had 
a general of their own, Gbneral Artemas Ward, with whom they 
appeared well satisfied; and under whose command they had 
proved themselves able to imprison the British army in Boston ; 
which was all that was to be expected or desired.'' 

The subject was postponed to a future day. In the interim, 
pains were taken out of doors to obtain a unanimity, and the 
voices were in general so clearly in favor of Washington, that the 


dissentient members were persuaded to withdraw their opposi- 

On the 15th of Jane, the army was regularly adopted by 
Congress, and the pay of the oommander-in-chief fixed at fiye 
hundred dollars a month. Many still olung to the idea, that in 
all these proceedings they were merely opposing the measures of 
the ministry, and not the authority of the orown, and thus the 
army before Boston was designated as the Continental Army, in 
contradistinction to that under Qenend Gktge, which was called 
the Ministerial Army. 

In this stage of the business Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, rose, 
and nominated Washington for the station of commander-in-chie£ 
The election was by ballot, and was unanimous. It was formally 
announced to him by the president, on the following day, when he 
had taken his seat in Congress. Bisbg in his place, he briefly 
expressed his high uid grateful sense of the honor conferred on 
him, and his sincere deyotion to the cause. '' But," added he, 
'^ lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my repu- 
tation, I b^ it may be remembered by every gentleman in the 
room, that I this day dedare, with the utmost sincerity, I do not 
think myself equal to the conmiand I am honored with. As to 
pay, I beg leave to assure the Congress that, as no pecuniary 
consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous em- 
ployment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I 
do not wish to make any profit of it I will keep an exact ac- 
count of my expenses. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, 
and that is all I desire." 

" There is something charming to me in the conduct of Wash- 
ington," writes Adams to a friend; ^ a gentleman of one of the 
first fortunes upon the continent, leaving his delicious retirement, 

414 LIFK or WASHINGTON. [Ills. 

his familj and friends, saorifioing hb ease, and hazarding all, in 
the cause of his ooontrj. His views are noble and disinterested. 
He declared, when he accepted the mighty trust, that he would 
lay before us an exact account of his expenses, and not accept a . 
shilling of pay." 

Four major-generals were to be appointed. Among those 
specified Vere (General Charles Lee and General Ward. Mr. 
Mifflin, of Philadelphia, who was Lee^s especial friend and ad- 
mirer, urged that he should be second in command. " General 
Lee,'' said he, ^' would senre cheerfully under Washington ; but 
considering his rank, character, and experience, could not be ex- 
pected to serve under any other. He must be aut secundits, aut 

Adams, on the other hand, as strenuously objected that it 
would be a great deal to expect that Greneral Ward, who was ac- 
tually in command of the army in Boston, should serve under any 
man; but under a stranger he ought not to serve. General Ward, 
accordingly, was elected the second in command, and Lee the 
third. The other two major-generals were, Philip Schuyler, of 
New York, and Israel Putnam, of Connecticut. Eight brigadier- 
generals were likewise appointed ; Seth Pomeroy, Bichard Mont- 
gomery, David Wooster, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John 
Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathaniel Greene. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Mifflin's objection to having Lee ranked 
under Ward, as being beneath his dignity and merits, he himself 
made no scruple to acquiesce ; though, judging from his super- 
cilious character, and from circumstances in his subsequent con- 
duct, he no doubt considered himself vastly superior to the pro- 
vincial officers placed over him. 

At Washington's express request, his old friend, Major Horatio 


Gates, then absent at his estate in Yirginia, was appointed ad* 
jutant-general, with the rank of brigadier. 

Adams, according to his own account, was extremely loth to 
admit either Lee or Gates into the American service, although 
he considered them officers of great experience and confessed abil- 
ities. He apprehended difficulties, he said, from the '^ natural 
prejudices and virtuous attachment of our countrymen to their 
own officers." " But," adds he, '< considering the earnest desire 
of General Washington to have the assistance of those officers, 
the extreme attachment of many of our best friends in the south- 
em colonies to them, the reputation they would give to our arms in 
Europe, and especially with the ministerial generals and army in 
Soston, as well as the real American merit of both, I could not 
withhold my vote from either." 

The reader will possibly call these circumstances to mind 
when, on a future page, he finds how Lee and Gates requited the 
friendship to which chiefly they owed their appointments. 

In this momentous change in his condition, which suddenly 
altered all his course of life, and called him immediately to the 
camp, Washington's thoughts recurred to Mount Yernon, and its 
rural delights, so dear to his heart, whence he was to be again 
exiled. His chief concern, however, was on account of the dis- 
tress it might cause to his wife. His letter to her on the subject 
is written in a tone of manly tenderness. ^' You may believe 
me," writes he, ^' when I assure you, in the most solemn manner, 
that, so far from seeking this appointment, I have used every en- 
deavor in my power to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness 
to part with you and the family, but from a consciousness of its 
being a trust too great for my capacity ; and I should enjoy more 
real happiness in one month with you at home than I have the 


most distant prospect of finding abroad, if mj stay were to be 
seven times seven years. Bat as it has been a kind of destiny 
that has thrown me upon this serrioe, I shall hope that my under- 
taking it is designed to answer some good purpose. • • • • 

^< I shall rely confidently on that Providence which has hereto- 
fore preserved, and been bountlM to me, not doubting but that I 
shall return safe to you in the FalL I shall feel no pain from 
the toil or danger of the campaign ; my unhappiness will flow 
from the uneasiness I know you will feel from being left alona 
I therefore beg that you will summon your whole fortitude, and 
pass your time as agreeably as possible. Nothing will give me 
so much sincere satisfaction as to hear this, and to hear it from 
your own pen." 

And to his favorite brother, John Augustine, he writes : '* I 
am now to bid adieu to you, and to every kind of domestic ease, 
for a while. I am embarked on a wide ocean, boundless in its 
prospect, and in which, perhaps, no safe harbor is to be found. 
I have been called upon by the unanimous voice of the colonies to 
take the command of the continental army ; an honor I neither 
sought after, nor desired, as I am thoroughly convinced that it 
requires great abilities, and much more experience, than I am 
master of." And subsequently, referring to his wife : " I shall 
hope that my Mends will visit, and endeavor to keep up the 
spirits of my wife as much as they can, for my departure will, I 
know, be a cutting stroke upon her; and on this account alone I 
have many disagreeable sensations." 

On the 20th of June, he received his commission from the 
president of Congress. The following day was fixed upon for his 
departure for tiie army. He reviewed previously, at the request 
of their officers, several militia companies of horse and foot. 

1116.] THE NSW OOMKANDEB. 417 

^yeiy one was anzionjB to see the new commander, and rarely has 
the public beau ideal of a commander been so folly answered. 
He was now in the vigor of his days, forty-three years of age, 
stately in person, noble in his demeanor, calm and dignified in his 
deportment; as he sat his horse, with manly grace, his military 
presence delighted every eye, and wherever he went the air rang 
with acclamations. 

Vol. L— 18* 



While Congress had been deliberating on the adoption of the 
army, and the nomination of a commander-in-chief, events had 
been thickening and drawing to a crisis in the excited region 
about Boston. The provincial troops which blockaded the town 
prevented supplies by land, the neighboring country refused to 
furnish them by water ; fresh provisions and vegetables were no 
longer to be procured, and Boston began to experience the priva- 
tions of a besieged city. 

On the 25th of May, arrived ships of war and transports 
from England, bringing large reinforcements, under Generals 
Howe, Burgoyne, and Henry Clinton, commanders of high repu- 

As the ships entered the harbor, and the '< rebel camp " was 
pointed out, ten thousand yeomanry beleaguering a town garri- 


BODed by five thouBand regulars, Borgoyne ooold not restrain a 
borst of surprise and scorn. '^ What ! " cried he, '^ ten thousand 
peasants keep five thousand king's troops shut up 1 Well, let us 
get in, and we'll soon find elbow-room." 

Inspirited by these reinforcements. General Qtige determined 
to take the field. Previously, however, in conformity to instruc- 
tions from Lord Dartmouth, the head of the war department, ha 
issued a proclamation (12th June), putting the province under 
martial law, threatening to treat as rebels and traitors all mal- 
contents who should continue under arms, together with their aid- 
ers and abettors; but offering pardon to all who should lay 
down their arms, and return to their allegiance. From this prof- 
ieted amnesty, however, John Hancock and Samuel Adams were 
especially excepted ; their oflfences being pronounced " too flagi- 
tious not to meet with condign punishment." 

^ This proclamation only served to put the patriots on the alert 
against such measures as might be expected to follow, and of 
which their friends in Boston stood ready to apprise them. The 
besieging force, in the mean time, was daily augmented by re- 
cruits and volunteers, and now amounted to about fifteen thousand 
men distributed at various points. Its character and organiza- 
tion were peculiar. As has well been observed, it could not be 
called a national army, for, as yet, there was no nation to own it ; 
it was not under the authority of the Continental Congress, the 
act of that body recognising it not having as yet been passed, 
and the authority of that body itself not having been acknow- 
ledged. It was, in fact, a fortuitous assemblage of four distinct 
bodies of troops, belonging to different provinces, and each having 
a leader of its own election. About ten thousand belonged to 
Massachusetts, and were under the command of General Artemas 


Ward, whose head-quarters were at Oambridge. Another bodj 
of troops, under Colonel John Stark, already mentioned, eame 
from New Hampshire. Ehode Island famished a third, under 
the command of (General Nathaniel Greene. A fourth was from 
Gonnecticat, under the yeteran Putnam. 

These bodies of troops, being from different colonies, were 
independent of each other, and had their several oommandera 
Those from New Hampshire were instructed to obey Oeneral 
Ward as conmiander-in-chief ; with the rest, it was a voluntary 
act, rendered in consideration of his being military ddef of Mas- 
sachusetts, the province whidi, as allies, they came to defend. 
There was, in fact, but little organization in the army. Nothing 
kept it together, and gave it unity of action, but a common feel- 
ing of exasperated patriotism. 

The troops knew but little of militaiy discipline. Almost all 
were familiar with the use of fire-arms in hunting and fowling; 
many had served in firontier campaigns against the Frendi, and 
in '< bush'fighting " with the Indians; but none were acquainted 
with regular service or the discipline of European armies. Th^e 
was a regiment of artillery, partly organized by Colonel Gridley, . 
a skilful engineer, and furnished with nine field-pieces ; but the 
greater part of the troops were without military dress or accou- 
trements ; most of them were hasty levies of yeomanry, some ci 
whom had seized their rifles and fowling-pieces, and turned out in 
their working clothes and homespun country garbs. It was an 
army of volunteers, subordinate throng inclination and respeot 
to officers of their own choice, and depending for sustenance on 
supplies sent from their several towns. 

Such was the army spread over an extent of ten or twelve 
miles, and keeping watch upon the town of Boston, containing at 


that time a population of seyenteen thousand sonis, and garri- 
soned with more than ten thousand British troops, disoiplined and 
experienced in the wars of Europe. 

In the disposition of these forces, Oeneral Ward had sta- 
tioned himself at Cambridge, with the main body of about nine 
thousand men and four companies of artillery. Lieutenant- 
general Thomas, second in command, was posted, with fire thou- 
sand Massachusetts, Connecticut and Bhode Island troops, and 
three or four companies of artillery, at Boxbury and Dorchester, 
forming the right wing of the army ; while the left, composed in 
a great measure of New Hampshire troops, stretched through 
Medford to the hills of Chelsea. 

It was a great annoyance to the British officers and soldiers, 
to be thus hemmed in by what they termed a rustic rout with 
calico frocks and fowluig-pieces. The same scornful and taunting 
spirit prevailed among them, that the cavaliers of yore indulged 
toward the Covenanters. Considering episcopacy as the only loyal 
and royal faith, they insulted and desecrated the '^ sectarian '' 
places of worship. One was turned into a riding school for the 
cavalry, and the fire in the stove was kindled with books from 
the library of its pastor. The Provincials retaliated by turning 
the Episcopal church at Cambridge into a barrack, and melting 
down its organ-pipes into bullets. 

Both parties panted for action; the British through impa- 
tience of their humiliating position, and an eagerness to chastise 
what they considered the presumption of their besiegers; the 
Provincials through enthusiasm in their cause, a thirst for enter- 
prise and exploit, and, it must be added, an unconsciousness of 
their own military deficiencies. 

We have already mentioned the peninsula of Charlestown 


(oalled fiom a Tillage of the same name), which lies opposite to 
the north side of Boston. The heights, whioh swell np in rear 
of the village, oyerlook the town and shipping. The project was 
conceived in the besieging camp to seize and occupy those 
heights. A cooncil of war was held upon the subject The ar- 
guments in favor of the attempt were, that ihe army was anxious 
to be employed ; that the country was dissatisfied widi its inac- 
tivity, and that the enemy might thus be drawn out to ground 
where they might be fought to advantage. General Putnam was 
one of the most strenuous in favor of the measure. 

Some of the more wary and judicious, among whom were 
General Ward and Dr. Warren, doubted the expediency of in- 
trenching themselves on those heights, and the possibility of 
maintaining so exposed a post, scantily furnished, as they were, 
with ordnance and ammunition. Besides, it might bring on a gen* 
eral engagement, which it was not safe to risL 

Putnam made light of the danger. He was confident of the 
bravery of the militia if intrenched, having seen it tried in the 
old French war. '* The Americans," said he, " are never afraid 
of tiieir heads ; they only think of their legs ; shelter them, and 
they'll fight for ever." He was seconded by General Pomeroy, a 
leader of like stamp, and another veteran of the French war. 
He had been a hunter in his time ; a dead shot with a rifle, and 
was ready to lead troops against the enemy, '^ with five cartridges 
to a man." 

The daring councils of such men are always captivating to 
the inexperienced ; but in the present instance, they were sanc- 
tioned by one whose opinion in such matters, and in this vicinity, 
possessed peculiar weight. This was Colonel William Prescott, 
of Peiqperell, who commanded a regiment of minute m^L He, 


too, had seen servioe in the French war, and acquired reputation 
as a lientenant of in&mtrj at the capture of Cape Breton. This 
was sufficient to constitute him an oracle in the present instance. 
He was now about fifty years of age, tall and commanding in his 
appearance, and retaining the port of a soldier. What was more, 
he had a military garb; being equipped with a three-cornered 
hat, a top wig, and a single-breasted blue coat, with facings and 
lapped up at the skirts. All this served to give him consequence 
among the rustic militia officers with whom he was in council. 

His opinion, probably, settled the question ; and it was deter- 
mined to seize on and fortify Bunker's Hill and Dorchester 
Heights. In deference, however, to the suggestions of the more 
cautious, it was agreed to postpone the measure until they were 
sufficiently supplied with the munitions .of war to be able to main- 
tain the heights when seized. 

Secret intelligence hurried forward the project. General 
Ghige, it was said, intended to take possession of Dorchester 
Heights on the night of the 18th of June. These heights lay 
on the opposite side of Boston, and the committee were ig- 
norant of their localities. Those on Charlestown Neck, being 
near at hand, had some time before been reconnoitered by Colo- 
nel Richard Gridley, and other of the engineers. It was deter- 
mined to seize and fortify these heights on the night of Friday, 
the 16th of June, in anticipation of the movement of General 
Gage. Troops were draughted for the purpose from the Massa- 
chusetts regiments of Colonels Prescott, Frye and Bridges. 
There was also a &tigue party of about two hundred men from 
Putnam's Connecticut troops, led by his favorite officer, Captain 
Knowlton ; together with a company of forty-nine artillery men, 
with two field-pieces, commanded by Captain Samuel Gridley. 

424 LIFE OF WA8HIN0T0N. [lllS, 

A litde before simset the troops, aboat twelve huodred in jJl, 
assembled on the eommon, in front of General Ward's qoarters. 
Thej oame prorided with packs, blankets and proyisions for foor- 
and-twenty hoars, bnt ignorant of the object of the expedition. 
Being all paraded, prayers were offered up by the reverend Presi- 
dent Langdon, of Harvard College; aft^ whioh they all set 
forward on their silent march. 

Colonel Prescott, from his experience in military matters, and 
his being an officer in the Massachusetts line, had been chosen bj 
General Ward to ccmduct the enterprise. His written orders 
were to fortify Bunker's Hill, and defend the works until he 
should be relieved. Colonel Richard Gridley, the chief engineer, 
who had likevrise served in the French war, was to aocompanj 
him and plan the fortifications. It was understood that reinforce- 
ments and refreshments would be sent to the &tigae party in the 

The detachment left Cambridge about 9 o'clock. Colonel Pres- 
cott taking the lead, preceded by two swgeants with dark lan- 
terns. At Charlestown Neck they were joined by Major Brooks^ 
of Bridges' regiment, and General Putnam ; and here were the 
waggons laden with intrenching tools, which first gave the men an 
indication of the nature of the enterprise. 

Charlestown Neck is a narrow isthmus, connecting the penin- 
sula with the main land; having the Mystic Biver, about half a 
mile wide, on the north, and a large embayment of Charles Biver 
on the south or right side. 

It was now necessary to proceed with the utmost caution, for 
they were coming on ground over which the British kept jealous 
watch. They had erected a battery at Boston on Cq^p's Hill, 
inmiediately opposite to Charlestown. Five of their vewehi of 


war were stationed bo as to bear upon &e peninsula from different 
directions, and the guns of one of them swept the isthmns, or 
narrow neck jnst mentioned. 

Across this isthmus, Colonel Prescott conducted the detach- 
ment undiscovered, and up the absent of Bunker's Hill. This 
commences at the Neck, and slopes up for about three hundred 
yards to its summit, which is about one hundred and twelve feet 
high. It then declines toward the south, and is connected by a 
ridge with Breed's Hill, about sixty or seventy feet high. The 
crests of the two hills are about seven hundred yards apart. 

On attaining the heights, a question rose which of the two 
they should proceed to fortify. Bunker's Hill was specified in 
the written orders given to Colonel Prescott by General Ward, 
but Breed's Hill was much nearer to- Boston, and had a better 
command of the town and shipping. Bunker's Hill, also, being 
on the upper and narrower part of the peninsula, was itself com- 
manded by the same ship which raked the Neck. Putnam was 
clear for commencing at Breed's Hill, and making the principal 
work there, while a minor work might be thrown up at Bunker's 
Hill, as a protection in Ac rear, and a rallying point, in case of 
being driven out of the main workv Others concurred with this 
opinion, yet there was a hesitation in deviating from the letter of 
their orders. At length Colonel Gridley became impatient ; the 
night was waning; delay might prostrate the whole ^terprise. 
Breed's Hill was then determined on. Gridley marked out the 
lines for the fortifications ; the men stacked their guns ; threw 
off their packs; seized their trenching tools, and set to work , 
with great spirit ; but so much time had been wasted in discus- 
sion, that it was midnight before they struck the first spade into 
the ground. 


PresootI, who felt the responsibility of his cbargey almost de- 
spaired of carrying on these operations nndiscovered. A party 
was sent out by him silently to patrol the shore at the foot of the 
heights, and watch for any movement of the enemy. Not willing 
to trust entirely to the vigilance of others, he twice went down 
during the night to the water's edge ; reconnoitering every thing 
scrupulously, and^ noting every sight and sound. It was a warm, 
still, summer's night; the stars shone brightly, but every thing 
was quiet. Boston was buried in sleep. The sentry's cry of 
" All's well " could be heard distinctly firom its shores, together 
with the drowsy calling of the watch on board of the ships of 
war, and then all would relapse into silence. Satisfied that the 
enemy were perfectly unconscious of what was going on upon the 
hill, he returned to the works, and a little before daybreak called 
in the patrolling party. 

So spiritedly, though silently, had the labor been carried on, 
that by morning a strong redoubt was thrown up as a main work, 
flanked on the left by a breastwork, partly cannon-proof, extend- 
ing down the crest of Breed's Hill to a piece of marshy ground 
called the Slough. To support the right of the redoubt, scnae 
troops were thrown into the village of Charlestown, at the south- 
em foot of the hilL The great object of Presoott's solicitude 
was now attained, a. sufficient bulwark to screen his men before 
they should be discovered ; for he doubted the possibility of keep- 
ing raw recruits to their post, if openly exposed to the fire of ar- 
tilleiy, and the attack of disciplined troops. 

At dawn of day, the Americans at work were espied by the 
sailors on board of the ships of war, and the alarm was given. 
The captain of the Lively, the nearest ship, without waiting for 
orders^ put a spring upon her cable, and bringing her guns to 


bear, opened a fire upon the hilL The other ships and a floating 
battery followed his example. Their shot did no mischief to the 
works, bat one man, among a number who had inoantiooslj yen- 
tared oatside, was killed. A sabaltem reported his death to 
Colonel Prescott, and asked what was to be done. " Bary him," 
was the reply. The chaplain gathered some of his military flock 
aroand him, and w&s proceeding to perform suitable obsequies 
oyer the ''first martyr," but Prescott ordered that the men 
should disperse to their work, and the deceased be buried imme- 
diately. It seemed shocking to men accustomed to the funeral 
solemnities of peaceful life to bury a man without prayers, but 
Prescott saw that the sight of this man suddenly shot down had 
agitated the neryes of his oomrades, unaccustomed to scenes of 
war. Some of them, in fact, quietly left the hill, and did not 
return to it. 

To inspire confidence by example, Prescott now mounted the 
parapet, and walked leisurely about, inspecting the works, giying 
directions, and talking cheerfully with the men. In a little 
while they got oyer their dread of cannon-balls, and some eyen 
made them a subject of joke, or rather brayado ; a species of 
sham courage occasionally manifested by young soldiers, but 
neyer by yeterans. 

The cannonading roused the town of Boston. General Gage 
could scarcely belieye his eyes when he beheld on the opposite 
hill a fortification full of mai, which had sprung up in the course 
of the night. As he reconnoitered it through a glass firom Copp's 
Hill, the tall figure of Prescott, in military garb, walking theS - 
parapet, caught his eye. " Who is that officer who appears in * 
command ? " asked he. The question was answered by Goflnsel- 
lor Willard, Prescott's brother-in-law, who wa^t hand, and re- 

as at lumd, 


cognised his relative. ^' Will he fight ? ^ demanded Gage, qoioklj. 
*^ Tea, sir 1 he is an old soldier, and will fight to the last drop of 
blood ; bat I cannot answer for his men." 

'^ The works most be carried 1 " exclaimed Gage. 

He called a council of war. The Americans mi^t intend to 
cannonade Boston from this new fortification ; it was nnanimouslj 
resolyed to dislodge them. How was this *to be done ? A ma- 
jority of the council, including Clinton and Grant, advised that a 
force should be landed on Oharlestown Neck, under the protection 
of their batteries, so as to attack the Americans in rear, and cut 
off their retreat. General Ckige objected that it would place his 
troops between two armies ; one at Cambridge, superior in num- 
bers, the other on the heights, strongly fortified. He was for 
landing in front of the works, and pushing directly up the hill ; 
a plan adopted through a confidence that raw militia would never 
stand their ground against the assault of veteran troops ; another 
instance of undervaluing the American spirit, which was to cost 
the enemy a lamentable loss of life. 





Thb sound of dram and trumpet, the clatter of hoofs, the rat* 
tling of gun-carriages, and all the other military din and hustle 
in the streets of Boston, soon apprised the Americans on their 
rudely fortified height of an impending attack. They were ill 
fitted to withstand it, being jaded by the night's labor, and want 
of sleep ; hungry and thirsty, haying brought but scanty supplies, 
and oppressed by the heat of the weather. Prescott sent re- 
peated messages to General Ward, asking reinforcements and 
provisions. Putnam seconded the request in person, urging the 
exigencies of the case. Ward hesitated. He feared to weaken 
his main body at Cambridge, as his military stores were deposited 
there, and it might have to sustain the principal attack. At 
length, haying taken advice of the council of safety, he issued 
orders for Colonels Stark and Read, then at Medford, to march 
to the relief of Prescott with their New UtimpBUire regiuieii; 
The orders reached Medford about 1 1 o'clouk. ^msnguiiou w 
distributed in all haste ; two flints, a gill of pOWdur, uitd ^^] 
balls to each man. The balls had to hv uLiitod to |hfi difierent 



430 LIFE OF WASHINGTON. [1775.. 

calibres of the guns; the powder to be carried in powder-horns, 
or loose in the pocket, for there were no cartridges prepared It 
was the rude turn out of yeoman soldiery destitute of regular ac- 

In the mean while, the Americans on Breed's Hill were sus- 
taining the fire from the ships, and from the battery on Copp's 
Hill, which opened upon them about ten o'clock. They returned 
an occasional shot from one comer of the redoubt, without much 
harm to the enemy, and continued strengthening their position 
until about 1 1 o'clock, when they ceased to work, piled their in- 
trenching tools in the rear, and looked out anxiously and impa- 
tiently for the anticipated reinforcements and supplies. 

About this time (General Putnam, who had been to head- 
quarters, arrived at the redoubt on horseback. Some words 
passed between him and Prescott mih regard to the intrenching 
tools, which have been yariously reported. The most probable 
version is, that he urged to have them taken from their present 
place, where they might fall into the hands of the enemy, and 
carried to Bunker's Hill, to be employed in throwing up a re- 
doubt, which was part of the original plan, and which would be 
very important should the troops be obliged to retreat from 
Breed's Hill. To this Prescott demurred that those employed 
to convey them, and who were already jaded with toil, might not 
return to his redoubt A large part of the tools were ultimately 
carried to Bunker's Hill, and a breastwork commenced by order 
f General Putnam. The importance of such a work was afber- 
r9l made^parent. 

AboatMroqjI^he Americans descried twenty-eight barges 
OTomtbg figi||Lf dpton in parallel lines. They contained a large 
detacA^Mj^d^^liers, rangers, and light infontry, admirably 

17'75.] APPKOACH 0)F THE ENEMY. 431 

equipped, and oommanded by Major-general Howe. They made 
a splendid and formidable appearance with their scarlet miiforms, 
and the sun flashing npon maskets and bayonets, and brass field- 
pieces. A heavy fire firom the ships and batteries covered their 
advance, but no att^npt was made to oppose them, and they 
landed about 1 o'clock at Moulton's Point, a little to the north 
of Breed's HilL 

Here General Howe made a pause. On reconnoitering the 
works from this point, the Americans appeared to be much more 
strongly posted than he had imagined. He descried troops also 
hastening to their assistance. These were the New Hampshire 
troops, led on by Stark. Howe immediately sent over to General 
Gktge for more forces, and a supply of cannon-balls ; those brought 
by him being found, through some egregious oversight, too large 
for the ordnance. While awaiting their arrival, refreshments 
were served out to the troops, with " grog," by the bucketful ; 
and tantalizing it was, to the hungry and thirsty provincials, to 
look down from their ramparts of earth, and see their invaders 
seated in groups upon the grass eating and drinking, and prepar- 
ing themselves by a hearty meal for the coming encounter. Their 
only consolation was to take advantage of the delay, while the 
enemy were carousing, to strengthen their position. The breast- 
work on the left of the redoubt extended to what was called the 
Slough, but beyond this, the ridge of the hill, and the slope 
toward Mystic River, were undefended, leaving a pass by which 
the enemy might turn the left flank of the position, and seize 
upon Bunker's Hill. Putnam ordered his chosen officer, Captain 
Knowlton, to cover this pass with the Connecticut troops under 
his command. A novel kind of rampart, savoring of rural device, 
was suggested by the rustic general About six hundred feet in 

432 LIFB OF WASHINGTON. [l^^fi, 

the rear of the redoubt, and about one hundred feet to the left of 
the breastwork, was a post and rail-fence, set in a low foot-wall 
of stone, and ext^ding down to Mystic River. The posts and 
rails of another fence were hastily pulled up, and set a few feet 
in behind this, and the intermediate epwie was filled up with new 
mown hay from the adjacent meadows. This double fence, it 
will be found, proved an important protection to the redoubt, al- 
though there still remained an unprotected interval of about sev^i 
hundred feet. 

While Enowlton and his men were putting up this fence, Put- 
nam proceeded with other of his troops to throw up the work on 
Bunker's Hill, despatdiing his son, Captain Putnam, on horse- 
back, to hurry up the remainder of his men from Cambridge. 
By this time his compeer in French and Indian warfare, the vet- 
eran Stark, made his appearance with the New Hampshire troops, 
five hundred strong. He had grown cool and wary with age, and 
his march from Medford, a distance of five or six miles, had been 
in character. He led his men at a moderate pace to bring them 
into action fresh and vigorous. In crossing the Neck, which was 
enfiladed by the enemy's ships and batteries, Captain Dearborn, 
who was by his side, suggested a quick step. The veteran shook 
his head : " One fresh man in action is worth ten tired ones," re- 
plied he, and marched steadily on. 

Putnam detained some of Stark's men to aid in throwing up 
the works on Bunker's Hill, and directed him to reinforce 
Knowlton with the rest. Stark made a short speech to his men 
now that they were likely to have warm work. He then pushed 
on, and did good service that day at the rustic bulwark. 

About 2 o'clock, Warren arrived on the heights, ready to en- 
gage in their perilous defence, although he had opposed the 

ms.] TH£ ASSAULT. 433 

Bchome of their oconpatioDu He had recently been elected a 
major-general, bat had not received his commission; like 
Pomeroj, he came to serve in the ranks with a musket on his 
shoulder. Putnam offered him the command at the fence ; he 
declined it, and merely asked where he could be of most service 
as a volunteer. Putnam pointed to the redoubt, observing that 
there he would be under cover. '^ Don't think I seek a place of 
safety," replied Warren, quickly; " where will the attack be hot- 
test?" Putnam still pointed to the redoubt <<That is the 
enemy's object ; if that can be maintained, the day is ours." 

Warren was cheered by the troops as he entered the redoubt. 
Colonel Prescott tendered him the command. He again declined. 
" I have come to serve only as a volunteer, and shall be happy to 
learn from a soldier of your experience." Such were the noble 
spirits assembled on these perilous heights. 

The British now prepared for a general assault An easy 
victory was anticipated ; the main thought was, how to make it 
most effectual. The lefb wing, commanded by Q-enend Pigot, was 
to mount the hill and force the redoubt, while General Howe, 
with the right wing, was to push on between the fort and Mystic 
Biver, turn the left flank of the Americans, and cut off their 

General Pigot, accordingly, advanced up the hill under cover 
of a fire from field-pieces and howitzers planted on a small height 
near the landing-place on Moulton's Point His troops com- 
menced a discharge of musketry while yet at a long distance from 
the redoubts. The Americans within the works, obedient to 
strict command, retained their ^re until the enemy were within 
thirty or forty paces, when they opened upon them with a tre- 
mendous volley. Being all marksmen, accustomed to take de- 

VoL. I.— 19 


liberate aim, iiie slaughter was immense, and especially hXal to 
officers. The assailants fell back in some confusion ; but, rallied 
on by their officers, advanced within pistol shot Another volley, 
more effective than the first, made them again recoil To add to 
their confusion, they were galled by a flanking fire from the hand* 
fill of Provincials posted in Oharlestown. Shocked at the carnage, 
and seeing the confusion of his troops. General Pigot was urged 
to give the word for a retreat 

In the mean while, General Howe, with the left wing, ad- 
vanced along Mystic Biver toward the fence where Stark, 
Bead and Knowlton were stationed, thinking to carry this slight 
breastwork with ease, and so get in the rear of the fortress. His 
artillery proved of little avail, being stopped by a. swampy piece 
of ground, while his columns suffered from two or three field- 
pieces with which Putnam had fortified the fence. Howe's men 
kept up a fire of musketry as they advanced ; but, not taking aim, 
their shot passed over the heads of the Americans. The latter 
had received the same orders with those in the redoubt^ not to 
fire until the enemy should be within thirty pacea Some few 
transgressed the command. Putnam rode up and swore he would 
.cut down the next man that fired contrary to orders. When the 
British arrived within the stated distance a sheeted fire opened 
^pon them frx)m rifles, muskets, and fowling-pieces, all levelled 
^th deadly aim. The carnage, as in the other instance, was hor- 
rible. 7he British were thrown into confusion and fell back; 
so^ne even retreated to the boata 

There was 9l gisneral pause on ihe part of the BritisL The 
American officers availed themselves of it to prepare for another 
attack, which must soon be qi^de. Prescott mingled among his 
men in the redoubt, who were all in high spirits at the severe 

ms.] THE 8BC0KD ASSAULT. 435 

eheok they had ^yen ** the regulars." He praised them for their 
steadfastness in maintaining their post, and their good conduct 
in reserving their fire until the word of command, and exhorted 
them to do the same in the next attack 

Putnam rode about Bunker's Hill and its skirts, to rally and 
bring on reinforcements which had been checked or scattered in 
crossing Gharlestown Neck by Ac raking fire from the ships and 
batteries. Before many could be brou^t to the scene of action 
the British had commenced their second attack. They again as- 
cended the hill to storm &e redoubt; their advance was covered 
as before by discharges of artillery. Gharlestown, which had 
annoyed them on their first attack by a flanking fire, was in fiames, 
by shells thrown from Copp's Hill, and by marines from the ships. 
Being built of wood, the place was soon wrapped in a general 
conflagration. The thunder of artillery from batteries and ships, 
the bursting of bomb-shells; the sharp discharges of musketry; 
the shouts and yells of the combatants ; the crash of burning 
buildings, and the dense volumes of smoke, which obscured the 
summer sun, all formed a tremendous spectacle. '' Sure I am," 
said Burgoyne in one of his letters, — '^ Sure I am nothing ever has 
or ever can be more dreadfully terrible than what was to be seen 
or heard at this time. The most incessant diadiarge of guns that 
ever was heard by mortal ears." 

The American troops, althou^ unused to war, stood undis- 
mayed amidst a scene where it was bursting upon them with all 
its horrors. Reserving their fire, as before, until the enemy was 
close at hand, they again poured forth repeated volleys with the 
fatal aim of sharpshooters. The British stood the first shock, 
and continued to advance ; but the incessant stream of fire stag- 
gered them. Their officers remonstrated, threatened, and even 


attempted to goad them on with their swords, but the havoc was 
too deadly ; whole ranks were mowed down ; many of the officers 
were either slain or wounded, and among them several of the 
staff of General Howe. The troops again gave way and retreated 
down the hilL 

All this passed nnder the eye of thousands of spectators of 
both sexes and all ages, watching from a&r every turn of a battle 
in which the lives of those most dear to them were at hazard. 
The British soldiery in Boston gazed with astonis^iment and 
almost incredulity at the resolute and protracted stand of raw 
militia whom they had been taught to despise, and at the havoc 
made among their own veteran troops. Every convoy of wound- 
ed brought over to the town increased their consternation, and 
General Clinton, whcf had watched the action from Gopp's Hill, 
embarking in a boat, hurried over as a volunteer, taking with him 

A third attack was now determined on, though some of Howe^s 
officers remonstrated, declaring it would be downright butch^. 
A different plan was adopted. Instead of advancing in front of 
the redoubt, it was to be taken in flank on the left^ where the 
open space between the breastwork and the fortified fence pre- 
sented a weak point. It having been accidentally discovered that 
the ammunition of the Americans was nearly expended, prepura- 
tioDS were made to carry the works at the point of the bayonet ; 
and the soldiery threw off their knapsacks, and some even their 
coats, to be more li^t for action. 

General Howe, with the main body, now made a feint of at- 
tacking the fortified fence ; but, while a part of his force was thus 
engaged, the rest brought some of the field-pieces to enfilade the 
breastwork on the left of the redoubt, A raking fire soon drove 


die AmerioanB out of this exposed place into the enclosure. 
Much damage, too, was done in the latter by balls which entered 
the sallyport 

The troops were now led on to assail the works ; those who 
flinched were, as before, goaded on bj &e swords of the officers. 
The Americans again reserred their fire until their assailants were 
dose at hand, and then made a murderous volley, by which several 
officers w^e laid low, and Gkneral Howe himself was wounded in 
fte foot The British soldiery this time likewise reserved their 
fire and rushed on with fixed bayonet Clinton and Pigot had 
reached the southern and eastern sides of the redoubt, and it was 
now assailed on three sides at once. Prescott ordered those who 
had no bayonets to retire to the back part of the redoubt and fire 
on the enemy as they showed themselves on the parapet The 
first who mounted exclaimed in triumph, " The day is ours 1 ^ 
He was instantly shot down, and so were several others who 
mounted about the same time. The Americans, however, had 
fired their last round, their ammunition was exhausted; and now 
succeeded a desperate and deadly struggle, hand to hand, with 
bayonets, stones, and the stocks of their muskets. At length, as 
the British continued to pour in, Prescott gave the order to re- 
treat His men had to cut their way tibrough two divisions of 
the enemy Yrbo were getting in rear of the redoubt, and they ro> 
ceived a destructive volley from those who had formed on the 
captured works. By that volley fell the patriot Warren, who 
had distinguished himself throughout ihe action. He was among 
the last to leave the redoubt, and had scarce done so when he 
was shot through the head with a musket-bally.and fell dead on 
the spot 

While the Americans were thus slowly dislodged from the re- 

438 UFJB or wAsHiHGToif. ims, 

doubt, Stark, Read and Ejiowltcm maintained tlieir ground at tho 
fortified fence ; wMoh, indeed, had been nobly defended throughout 
the action. Pomeroy distinguished himself here by his sharp- 
ahooting until his musket was shattered by a balL The resist- 
ance at this hastily constructed work was kept up after the troops 
in the redoubt had giyen way, and until Oolonel Prescott had loft 
the hiU; thus defeating General Howe's dedgn (rf cutting off the 
retreat of the main body ; which would hare produced a scene of 
direful confusion and slaughter. Haying effected their purpoee^ 
the brave associates at the fence abandoned their weak out^poet, 
retiring slowly, and disputing the ground inch by inch, with a 
regularity remarkable in troops many of whom had neyer before 
been in action. 

The main rek^at was across Bunker's Hill, where Putnam 
had endeayored to throw up a breastworiL The yeteran, sword 
in hand, rode to the rear of the retreating troops, regardless of 
the baUs whistling about him. His only thought waa to raUj 
them at the unfinished works. ^' Halt I make a stand herel^ 
cried he, <' we can check them yet. In God's name, form and giye 
them one shot more." 

Pomeroy, wielding hia shattered musket as a truncheon, seo- 
onded him in hia efforts to stay the torr^it. It was impossible^ 
howeyer, to bring the troops to a stand. They continued on down 
the hill to the Neck and across it to Oambr idge, exposed to a rak- 
ing fire from the ships and batteries, and only protected by a sin- 
gle piece of ordnance. The British were too exhausted to pursue 
them ; they contented themselyes with taking possession of Bun- 
ker's Hill, were reinforced from Boston, and throw up additional 
works during the night. 

We haye collected the preceding focts from various souroesi 


examining them careMI j, and endeayoring to arrange them with 
Borupnlous fidelity. We may appear to have been more minute 
in the aooount of the battle than the number of troops engaged 
would warrant; but it was one of the most momentous eonfliote 
in our revolutionary history. It was the first regular battle be- 
tween the British and the Americans, and most eyentful in its 
oonsequenoes. The former had gained the ground for which they 
contended ; but, if a victory, it was more disastrous and humili- 
ating to them than an ordinary defeat They had ridiculed and 
despised their enemy, representing them as dastardly and ineffi- 
cient; yet here their best troops, led on by experienced officers, 
had repeatedly been repulsed by an inferior force of that enemy, 
—mere yeomanry, — from works thrown up in a single night, and 
had suffered a loss rarely paralleled in battle mih. the most 
veteran soldiery; for, according to their own returns, their killed 
and wounded, out of a detachment of two thousand men, amounted 
to one thousand and fifty four, and a large proportion of them 
officers. The loss of the Americans did not exceed four hundred 

To the latter this defeat, if defeat it might be called, had the 
effect of a triumph. It gave them confidence in themselves and 
consequence in the eyes of their enemies. They had proved to 
themselves and to others that they could measure weapons with 
the disciplined soldiers of Europe, and inflict the most harm in 
the conflict. 

Among the British officers slain was Major Piteairn, who, at 
Lexingtcm, had shed the first blood in the Bevolutionary war. 

In the death of Warren the Americans had to lament the loss 
of a distinguished patriot and a most estimable man. It was de- 
plored as a public calamity. His friend Elbridge Gerry had en- 


deayored to dissuade him from risking his life in this perilous 
conflict, " Dulce et decomm est pro patria mori," replied Warren, 
as if he had foreseen his fate — a fate to be envied by those am^ 
bitious of an honorable fame. He was one of the first who fell in 
the glorious cause of his country, and his name has become conse- 
crated in its history. 

There has been much discussion of the relatiye merits of the 
American officers engaged in this affiur — a difficult question 
where no one appears to have had the general command. Pros** 
cott conducted the troops in the night enterprise ; he superintend* 
ed the building of the redoubt, and defended it throughout the 
battle ; his name, therefore, will eyer shine most conspicuous, and 
deservedly so, on this bright page of our Revolutionary history. 

Putnam also was a leading spirit throughout the afiGedr ; one 
of the first to prompt and of the last to maintain it. He appears 
to have been active and efficient at every point ; sometimes forti- 
fying; sometimes hurrying up reinforcements; inspiriting the 
men by his presence while they were able to maintain their 
ground, and fighting gallantly at the outpost to cover their re- 
treat. The brave old man, riding about in the heat of the action, 
on this sultry day, ''with a hanger belted across his brawny 
shoulders, over a waistcoat without sleeves," has been sneered at 
by a contemporary, as '' much fitter to head a band of sickle men 
or ditchers than musketeers." But this very description illus- 
trates his character, and identifies him with the tildes and the 
service. A yeoman warrior fresh from the plough, in the garb of v 
rural labor ; a patriot brave and generous, but rough and ready, 
who thought not of himself in time of danger, but was ready to 
serve in any way, and to sacrifice official rank and self-glorification 
to the good of the cause. He was eminently a soldier for the 


occasion. His name has long been a fayorite one with young and 
old; one of the talismanio names of the Eevolntion, the yery 
mention of which is like the sound of a trampet. Such names 
are the precious jewels of our history, to be garnered up among 
the treasures of the nation, and kept immaculate from the tarnish 
ing breath of the cynic and the doubter. 

Note. — ^In treating of the battle of Bunker's Hill, and of other 
occurrences about Boston at this period of the Bevolntion, we have 
had repeated occasion to consult the History of the Siege of Boston, 
by Bichard Frothingham, Jr.; a work abounding with faciB as to 
persons and eyents, and ftiU of interest for the American reader. 




In a preceding chapter we left Washington preparing to depart 
from Philadelphia for the army before Boston. He set out on 
horseback on the 2l8t of June, haying for militaiy companions 
of his journey Major-generals Lee and Schuyler, and being ac- 
companied for a distance by seyeral priyate friends. As an ea- 
cort he had a '< gentleman troop " of Philadelphia, commanded by 
Captain Markoe ; the whole formed a brilliant cayalcade. 

General Schuyler was a man eminently calculated to sympa- 
thize with Washington in all his patriotic yiews and feelings, and 
became one of his most faithful coadjutora Sprung from one of 
the earliest and most respectable Dutch families which colonized 
New York, all his interests and affections were identified with the 
country. He had receiyed a good education ; applied himself at 
an early age to the exact sciences, and became yersed in finance, 
military engineering, and political economy. He was one of thoso 


native bom soldiers who had acqxdred experience in that Ameri- 
can school of arms, the old French war. When bnt twenty-two 
years of age he commanded a company of New York levies under 
Sir William Johnson, of Mohawk renown, which gave him an 
early opportunity of becoming acquainted with the Indian tribes, 
their country and their policy. In 1758 he was in Abercrombie's 
expedition against Ticonderoga, accompanying Lord Viscount 
Howe as chief of the commissariat department ; a post well quali^ 
fied to give him experience in the business part of war. When 
that gallant young nobleman fell on the banks of Lake George, 
Schuyler conveyed his corpse back to Albany and attended to his 
honorable obsequies. Since the close of the French war he had 
served his country in various civil stations, and been one of the 
most sealous and eloquent vindicators of colonial rights. He was 
one of the " glorious minority " of the New York General Assem^ 
bly; George Clinton, Colonel Woodhull, Colonel Philip Living- 
ston and others ; who, when that body was timid and wavering, 
battled nobly against British influence and oppression. His last 
stand had been recently as a del^ate to Congress, where he had 
served with Washington on the committee to prepare rules and 
regulations for the army, and where the latter had witnessed his 
judgment, activity, practical scioice, and sincere devotion to the 

Many things concurred to produce perfect harmony of opera- 
tion between these distinguished men. They were nearly of the 
same age, Schuyler being. one year the youngest Both were 
men of agricultural, as well as military tastes. Both were men 
of property, living at their ease in little rural paradises ; Wash- 
ington on the grove-clad heights of Mount Vernon, Schuyler on 
the*pastoral banks of the upper Hudson, where he had a noble 

444 LIFK OP WASHINGTON. [1*1*16. 

estate at Saratoga, inherited from an nnde; and the old fiunily 
mansion, near the city of Albany, half hid among ancestral trees. 
Yet both were exiling ihemselyes from these happy abodes, and 
putting life and fortune at hazard in the serrioe of their countiy. 

Scdinyler and Lee had early militaiy recollections to draw 
ihem together. Both had served under Aberorombie in the expe* 
dition against Tioonderoga. There was some part of Lee's conduot 
in that expedition which both he and Schuyler might deem it ex* 
pedient at this moment to forget. Lee was at that time a young 
captain, naturally presumptuous, and flushed with the arrogance 
of military power. On his march along the banks of the Hud- 
son, he acted as if in a conquered country , impressing horses and 
oxen, and seizing upon supplies, without exhibiting any proper 
warrant. It was enough for him, " they were necessary for the 
seryice of his troops." Should any <me question his right, the 
reply was a volley of execrationa 

Am<mg those who experienced this unsoldierly treatment was 
Mrs. Schuyler, the aunt of the general; a lady of aristooratical 
station, revered throughout her neighborhood. Her cattle were 
impressed, herself insulted. She had her revenge. After the 
unfortunate affair at Ticonderoga, a number of the wounded were 
brought down along the Hudson to the Schuyler mancdon. Lee 
was among the number. The high-minded mistress of the house 
never alluded to his past conduct. He was reoeived like his 
brother officers with the kindest sympathy. Sheets and table- 
cloths were torn up to serve as bandages. Ev^ tiling was done 
to alleviate their sufferings. Lee's cynic heart was conquered. 
^He swore in his vdbement manner that he was sure tiliere 
would be a place reserved for Mrs. Schuyler in heaven, though 


no other woman should be there, a^d that he should wish for 
nothing better than to share her final destiny ! " * 

Seventeen years had sinoe elapsed, and Lee and the nephew 
of Mrs. Schuyler were again allied in military service, but under 
a different banner; and recollections of past times must have 
given peculiaf interest to their present intercourse. In flEiot, the 
journey of Washington with his associate generals, experienced 
like him in the wild expeditions of the old French war, was a 
revival of early campaigning feelings. 

They had scarcely proceeded twenty miles from Philadelphia 
when they were met by a courier, spurring with all speed, bearing 
despatches from the army to Congress, communicating tidings of 
the battle of Bunker's HilL Washington eagerly inquired par- 
ticulars ; above all, how acted the militia ? When told that they 
stood their ground bravely ; sustained the enemy's fire — ^reserved 
their own until at close quarters, and then delivered it with 
deadly effect ; it seemed as if a weight of doubt and solicitude 
were lifted from his heart " The liberties of the country are 
safe ! " exclaimed he. 

The news of the battle of Bunker's Hill had startled the 
whole countiy ; and this clattering cavalcade, escorting the com- 
mander-in-chief to the army, was the gaze and wonder of every 
town and village. 

The journey may be said to have been a continual council of 
war between Washington and the two generals. Even the con- 
trast in character of the two latter made them regard questions 
from different points of view. Schuyler, a warm-hearted patriot, 
with every thing staked on the cause ; Lee, a soldier of fortune, 

• Memoirs of an American Lady (Mrs. Grant, of laggan), voL ii., 
chap, ix. 


indifferent to the ties of home and country, drawing his sword 
without enthoBiasm; more through reeentment against a goyem- 
ment which had disappointed him, than seal for liberty or f<» 
colonial rights. 

One of the most frequent subjects of conyersation was the 
province of New York. Its power and ponticm rendered it the 
great link of the confederacy; what measures were necessary for 
its defence, and most calculated to secure its adherence to the 
cause ? , A lingering attachment to the crown, kept up by the in« 
fluence of British merchants, and military and dvil functionaries 
in royal pay, had rendered it slow in coming into the colonial 
compact ; and it was only on the contemptuous dismissal of Uieir 
statement of grievances, unheard, that its peeple had thrown off 
their allegiance, as much in sorrow as in anger. 

No person was better fitted to give an account of ^e interior 
of New York than General Schuyler { and the hawk-eyed Lee 
during a recent sojourn had made its capital somewhat of a 
study ; but there was much yet for botii of t^em to l^am. 

The population of New York was more varied in its elements 
than that of almost any other of the i»t>vinces, and had to be 
cautiously studied. The New Yorkers were of a mixed origin, 
and stamped with the peculiarities of their respective ancestors. 
The descendants of the old Dutch and Huguenot fiunilies, the 
earliest settlers, were still among the soundest and best of the 
population. They inherited the love of liberty, civil and r^ 
ligious, of their forefathers, and were those who stood f(»*emo8i 
in the present struggle for popular rights. Sudi were the Jays, 
the Bensons, the Be^mans, the Hofiinans, the Van Homes, the 
Roosevelts, the Buyckinks, the Piatards, the Yatcses, and others 
whose names figure in the patriotic documents of the day. Some 

1115.] PJEOPLK OP NEW YORK. 447 

of tbeoi, doubtless, cherished a remembrance of the time when 
their forgathers were lords of the land, and felt an innate pro- 
pensiiy to join in resistance to the government by whidi their 
supremacy had been oyertumed. A great proportion of the 
more modem families, dating from the downfall of the Dutch 
goyemment in 1664, were English and Scotch, and among these 
were many loyal adherents to the crown. Then there was a mix- 
ture of the whole, produced by the intermarriages of upwards of 
a centtiry, which partook of eyery shade of character and senti* 
ment. The operations of foreign commerce, and the regular com* 
munications inih. the mother country through packets and ships 
of war, kept these elements in constant action, and contributed to 
produce that mercurial temperament, that fondness for excite- 
ment, and proneness to pleasure, which distinguished them from 
their neighbors on either side— the austere Puritans of New En^ 
land, and the quiet ^' Friends " of Pennsylvania. 

There was a power, too, of a formidable kind within the int^ 
rior of the province, which was an object of much solicitude. 
This was the <' Johnson Family." We have repeatedly had oc- 
casion to speak of Sir William Johnson, his majesty's general 
agent for Indkn afEiurs, of his great wealth, and his almost sover^ 
eign sway over ike Six Nations. He had originally received 
that appointment through the influence of the Schuyler family. 
Both O^erals Schuyler and Lee, when young men, had cam- 
paigned with him ; and it was among the Mohawk warriors, who 
rallied under his standard, tb^ Lee had bdield his vaunted mod- 
els of good-breeding. 

Li ^e recent difficulties between the crown and colenies, Sir 
William had naturally been in favor of the government which had 
enriched and honored him, but he had viewed with deep concern 


the acts of Parliament which were goading the ooloniBts to armed 
resistance. In the height of his solicitude, he receiyed despatches 
ordering him, in case of hostilities, to enlist the Indians in the 
cause of goyemment. To the agitation of feelings produced by 
these orders many haye attributed a stroke of ap<^lezy, of which 
he died, on the 11th of July, 1774, about a year before the time 
of which we are treating. 

His son and heir. Sir John Johnson, and his sons-in-law, 
Colonel Guy Johnson and Colonel Claus, felt none of the' reluc- 
tance of Sir William to use harsh measures in support of royalty* 
They liyed in a degree of rude feudal style in stone mansiond 
capable of defence, situated on the Mohawk Riyer and in its yicin- 
ity ; they had many Scottish Highlanders for tenants ; and among 
their adherents were yiolent men, such as the Butlers of Tryon 
County, and Brant, the Mohawk sachem, since &mous in Indian 
warfare. They had recently gone about with armed retainerS| 
oyerawing and breaking up patriotic assemblages, and it was 
known they could at any time bring a force of warriors in the 

Recent accounts stated that Sir John was fortifying the old 
family hall at Johnstown with swiyels, and had a hundred and 
fifty Roman Catholic Highlanders quartered in and about it, all 
armed and ready to obey his orders. 

Colonel Guy Johnson, howeyer, was the most actiye and zeal- 
ous of the fiunily. Pretending to apprehend a design on the part 
of the New England people to surprise and carry him off, he for- 
tified his stone mansion on the Mohawk, called Guy's Park, and 
assembkd there a part of his militia regiment, and other of his 
adher^ts, to the number of fiye hundred. He held a great In- 
dian council there, likewise, in which the chiefs of the Six Na- 


tions recalled the friendship and good deeds of the late Sir 
William Johnson, and avowed their determination to stand by and 
defend every branch of his fEunily. 

As yet it was uncertain whether Colonel Guy really intended 
to take an open part in the appeal to arms. Should he do so, he 
wonld carry with him a great farce of the native tribes, and 
might almost domineer over the frontier. 

Tryon, the governor of New York, was at present absent in 
England, having been called home by the ministry to give an 
account of the affidrs of the province, and to receive instructions 
for its management. He was a tory in heart, and had been a 
zealous opponent of all colonial movements, and his talents and 
address gave him great influence over an important part of the 
community. Should he return with hostile instructions, and 
should he and the Johnsons co-operate, the one controUmg the 
bay and harbor of New York and the waters of the Hudson by 
means of ships and land forces ; the others overrunning the valley 
of the Mohawk and the regions beyond Albany with savage 
hordes, this great central province might be wrested from the 
confederacy, and all intercourse broken off between the eastern 
and southern colonies. 

All these circumstances and considerations, many of which 
came under discussion in the course of this military journey, ren- 
dered the command of New York a post of especial trust and im- 
portance, and determined Washington to confide it to General 
Schuyler. He was peculiarly fitted for it by his military talents, 
his intimate knowledge of the province and its concerns, especially 
what related to the upper parts of it, and his experience in Indian 

At Newark, in the Jerseys, Washington was met on the 25ih 


bj a oommittee of the proyincial Congress, sent to oandnct him 
to the oify. The Oongress was in a perplexity. It had in a 
manner usurped and exercised the powers of Govemor Tryon 
during his absence, while at the same time it professed alle- 
giance to the crown wfaidi had appointed him. He was now in 
the harbor, just arrived from England, and hourly expected to 
land. Washington, too, was approaching. How were these double 
claims to ceremonious respect happening at the same time to be 

In this dilemma a regiment of militia was turned out, and ihe 
colonel instructed to pay military honors to whichever of the 
distinguished functionaries should first arrive. Washington was 
earlier than the governor by several hours, and received those 
honors. Peter Yan Burgh Livingston, president of the New 
York Congress, next delivered a congratulatory address, the lat- 
ter part of which evinces the cautious reserve with which, in these 
revolutionary times, military power was intrusted to an indi- 
vidual: — 

<• Confiding in you, sir, and in the worthy generals imme- 
diately under your command, we have the most flattering herpes 
of success in the glorious struggle for American liberty, and the 
fullest assurances that whenever this important contest sihdll be 
decided by that fondest wish of each American soulf cm oc- 
commodation with our mother country, you wM cheerfully 
resign the imjportant deposit committed into your hands, and 
reassume the character of our worthiest citizen,^^ 

The following was Washington's reply, in behalf of himself 
and his generals, to this part of the address. 

" As to the fatal, but necessary operations of war, when we 
assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citisen ; and wo 


Bball most sincerely rejoioe with yon in that happy hour, when 
the establishment of American liberty on the most firm and solid 
foundations, shall enable ns to return to our private stations, in 
the bosom of a free, peaceful, and happy country." 

The landing of Q-ovemor Tryon took place about eight o^clock 
in the eyening. The military honors were repeated ; he was re* 
ceived with great respect by the mayor and common council, and 
transports of loyalty by those devoted to the crown. It was un- 
known what instructions he had received from the ministry, but 
it was rumored that a large force would soon arrive from Eng- 
land, subject to his directions. At this very moment a ship of 
war, the Asia, lay anchored opposite the city^ its grim batteries 
bearing up<m it, greatly to the disquiet of the faint-hearted among 
its inhabitants. 

In this situation of affidrs Washington was happy to leave such • 
an efficient person as General Schuyler in command of the pkce. 
According to his instructions, the latter was to make returns 
once a month, and oftener, should circumstances require it, to 
Washington, as conmiander-in-chief, and to the Continental Oon- 
gress, of the forces under him, and the state of his supplies ; and 
to send the earliest advices of all events of importance. He was 
to keep a wary eye on Gol(mel Guy Johnson, and to counteract 
any prejudicial influence he might exercise over the Indians. 
With respect to Qovemor Tryon, Washington hinted at a bold 
and decided line of conduct. " If forcible measures are judged 
necessary respecting the person of the governor, I should have 
no difficulty in ordering them, if the Continental Congress were 
not sitting ; but as that is the case, and the seizing of a goih 
emor quite a new thing^ I must refer you to that body for 

452 LIFE OF WASHINaTON. [11*16. 

Had Congress thouglit proper to direct flaoh a measure, 
Schuyler certainly would haye been the man to execute it. 

At New York, Washington had learned all the details of the 
battle of Bunker's Hill ; they quickened his impatience to arrive 
at the camp. He departed, therefore, on the 26th, accompanied 
by General Lee, and escorted as far as Kingsbridge, the termi- 
nation of New York Island, by Markoe's Philadelphia li^t horse, 
and seyeral companies of militia. 

In the mean time the provincial Congress of Haasachusetts, 
then in session at Watertown, had made arrangements for the ex- 
pected arrival of Washington. According to a resolve of that 
body, " the president's house in Cambridge, excepting one room 
reserved by the president for his own use, was to be taken, cleared, 
prepared, and furnished for the reception of the Oommander-ixi- 
Chief and General Lee. The Congress had likewise sent on a 
deputation which met Washington at Springfield, on the frontiers 
of the province, and provided escorts and accommodations for him 
along the road. Thus honorably attended from town to town, 
and escorted by volunteer companies and cavalcades of gentlemen, 
he arrived at Watertown on the 2d of July, where he was greeted 
by Congress with a congratulatory address, in which, however, 
was frankly stated the undisciplined state of the army he was 
summoned to command. An address of cordial welcome was 
likewise made to General Lee. 

The ceremony over, Washington was again in the saddle, and, 
escorted by a troop of light horse and a cavalcade of citizens, pro- 
ceeded to the head-quarters provided for him at Cambridge, three 
miles distant. As he entered the confines of the camp the shouts 
of the multitude and the thundering of artillery gave note to the 
enemy beleaguered in Boston of his arrival 

1776.] ABRIVAL AT THK OAMP. 453 

His military repatation had preceded him and excited great 
expectations. They were not disappointed. His personal ap- 
pearance, notwithstanding the dost of trayel, was calculated to 
captivate the public eye. As he rode through the camp, amidst a 
throng of officers, he was the admiration of the soldiery and of a 
curious throng collected from the surrounding country. Happy 
was the countryman who could get a full view of him to carry 
home an account of it to his neighbors. '' I have been mudi 
gratified this day with a view of General Washington," writes a 
contemporary chronicler. ^' His excellency was on horseback, in 
company with several military gentlemen. It was not difficult to 
distinguish him from all others. He is tall and well-propor* 
tioned, and his personal appearance truly noble and majestic" * 

The fair sex were still more enthusiastic in their admiration, 
if we may judge from the following passage of a letter written by 
the mtelligent and accomplishAl wife of John Adams to her hus- 
band : '' Dignity, ease, and complacency, the gentleman and the 
soldier, look agreeably blended in him. Modesty marks every 
line and feature of his face. Those lines of Dryden instantly oc- 
curred to me: 

' Mark his majestic fabric t He's a temple 
Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine ; 
His Bonl's the deity that lodges there ; 
Nor is the pile unworthy of the God.*** 

With Washiogton, modest at aU times, there was no false ex- 
citement on the present occasion ; nothing to call forth emotions 
of self-glorification. The honors and congratulations with which 
he was received, the acclamations of the public, the cheerings of 

* Thacher. — Military Journal. 


the army, only told him how maoh wbb expected from him ; and 
when he looked ronnd npon the raw and mstio leyies he was to com- 
mand, " a mixed mnltitude of people, under very little discipline, 
order, or government," scattered in rough encampments about 
hill and dale, beleaguering a city garrisoned by veteran troops, 
with ships of war anchored about its harbor, and strong oulposts 
guarding it, he felt the awful responsibilily of his situation, and 
the complicated and stupendous task before him. He spoke of it, 
however, not despondingly nor boastfully and with defiance; but 
with that solemn and sedate resolution, and that hopeful relianoe 
on Supreme Goodness, which belonged to his magnanimous nature. 
The cause of his country, he observed, had called him to an ac- 
tive and dangerous duty, but he trusted that Divine Providence^ 
which wisely orders the affairs of men^ wotdd enable him to 
discharge it with fidelity and success.^ 

• Letter to Gtovemor TrumbulL— Spftrks, iii., 81. 


[PUBLiansRa* NOTios.'i 


The Portrait engrayed for this volmne is from an original piotore by 
Webtmullxb, a Danish or Swedish artist, who painted it from life, in Phila- 
delphia, in 1796. The earliest portrait of Washington — that by C. W. Pbali, 
1772, which properly belongs in this yolume, will be given in the second 
Tolume. The third will contain an engraying from Houdon's Ml-length 
statne of Washington, now in the Capitol at Richmond. 

Wertmnller's portrait represents Washington as mnch yonnger-looking 
than the standard portrait by Stnart A clumsily fitted set of artificial 
teeth affects the expression abont the month, in Stuart's picture, adding 
also to the appearance of age. In regard to the authenticity and history 
of the portrait now first engrayed, w'e annex the following letter from its 
present proprietor, Charles Augubtdb Davib, Esq. of New York, who has 
kindly loaned the picture for our engraying. 

No. 1 University Place, New York, April, 185S. 

It giyes me great pleasure to comply with the request of Mr. Irying, to 
allow the portrait of Washington, in my posseasion, to be engrayed for 
"The Life" of that illustrious person, which Mr. Irying is now about 
completing, and which you are about to publish. A brief history of this 
portrait I gather from the Baron Saladifif residing near Geneya (Switzer- 
land), from whom I obtained it in September last. The wife of the Baron 
is the granddaughter of the late Mr. Cazenoye, and she inherited it from 
her grandfather, to whom it was giyen by General Washington himself, at 
the period of its being painted (1796) ; tiie General's age then sixty-two. 
U was taken byMr. Casenoye to Switzerland at that period, and has been 


ever regarded b j all who saw it, as a futliM and accurate likeness— it 
could scarcely be otherwise. — ^Wertmullek, the artist, was, in his day, a 
highly esteemed painter in Philadelphia, where this portrait was painted ; 
and it is hardly probable that, under all the circumstances, an inaccurate 
picture would have been conveyed to Switzerland. 

The Baron Saladin, from whom (as before said) I obtained this picture, 
and who is a gentleman of the highest reputation, writes as follows :— 
" In answer to your inquiry on the subject of the Portrait of Washington, 
I have to state that it was painted by ** WertmuUer," in Philadelphia, from 
life (" (Tdprka nature*'), and given by the General himself to Mr. Cazenove, 
the grandfather of my wife ;^the (general and Mr. Cazenove were very 
intimate. It was brought by Mr. Cazenove from America. VoiU la tra- 
dUian defamUeJ* 

This Mr. Cazenove was a very respectable Swiss gentleman, who under- 
took the introduction of Swiss culture, Ac <fec., in our State. The town 
of " Cazenovia** was named in honor of him. 

In regard to the truthfulness of this Portrait I can only say, that since 
its arrival here, gentlemen who remember the illustrious original say, that 
of all the portraits they have ever seen of Washington, none brings home 
to their memory so much of truthfulness and accuracy. 

Very respectfully your ob't serv't, 

Chas. Aua DAVia 
To MsBSBS. G. P. Putnam & Co. 
New Yobs. 

The following information is kindly c<Hnmunicated in a letter to the 
Publishers, by Benson J. LoasiNO, Esq., author of the " Field Book of ths 
Revolution.^ Mr. Lossing's inquiries on the sulgect have been extensive 
and thorou^, and these particulars are valuable and reliable : — 

*' The picture of Washington at forty years of age, painted at Mount 
Vernon, by Charles Wilson Peale, and now at Ariiogton House, was, as I 
am informed, the fint portrait of him ever delineated. He is represented 
in the costume of a Virginian Colonel ofthat day (1772); a blue coat faced 
with red, bright metal buttons, and dark red waistcoat and breeches. 
Peale painted three other pictures of Washington, from life, all of which 
I have seen. One was commenced at Valley Forge, in the spring of 1778. 
Poale was then a captain in the Continental army. Soon after the first 
sitting, the troops left Valley Forge, and pursued Uie British in their flight 


from Philadelphia toward New Yoi^ The painter took his materials with 
him, participated in the battle of Monmouth at the close of June, and, a 
day or two afterward, procured another sitting at New Bronswick. Tho 
piotnre was finally completed at Princeton, and Nassau Hall is a prominent 
object in the background. That portrait is now in the gallery of the 
National Institute, Washington City. The original of the sword upon the 
thigh of the Ghie( in the painting, is in a glass case a few feet from it, and 
attests the extreme aoouraoy of the artist, eyen in the subordinate parts of 
the picture. Another was painted by Peale, in 1780, for the College of 
New Jersey at Princeton, to occupy a frame in which a portrait of Gkorge 
the Third had been destroyed by an American cannon-ball, during the 
battie at that place, on the 8d of January, 1111. It remains in the posses- 
sion of the College, and was spared by the late fire which destroyed Nassau 
HalL The last portrait from life, painted by Peale, was executed in 1788, 
and continued in possession of the painter until his death. It was sold, 
with the " Peale GaUery," at Philadelphia, in October last, for fifiy-fiot 

**In 1788, the late William Bunlap painted an indifferent portrait 
(quarter length) of Washington, while he was at Rocky Hill in New Jersey, 
just before he issued his Farewell Addrea to the Army. Dunlap wafl then 
between seyenteen and eighteen years of age. He has left no record con- 
cerning its subsequent history. 

*' In 1784, an artist, named Wright, painted a fbll length portrait of 
Washington, from life, for Mrs. Elizabeth Powell, a yalued friend of the 
Patriot and his family. It is in the possession of John Hare Powell, Esq., 
of Powellton, a nephew of Mrs. Powell, whose residence is on the banks 
of the Schuylkill, opposite Philadelphia. He also presenres the carriage 
which belonged to his aunt, and which was imported with, and is an 
exact duplicate of, the "state carriage" of Washington, while he was 
President of the United States. I haye a drawing of the carriage, made 
while on a yisit to Mr. Powdl, in 1848. 

"In 1785, Piae^ an English artist, painted a portrait from Ufe, for 
Francis Hopldnaon. You doubtless remember the GtoneraTs letter to that 
gentleman, on the subject of his sittings for the picture, in which he says: 
'It is a proo^ among many others, of what halnt and custom can effect 
At firsts I was as impatient at the request, and as restiye under the opera- 
tion, as a colt is of the saddle. The next time I submitted y«ry rduc- 
tantiy, but with lees flouncing. Now, no dray mores more readily to the 
thill, than I to the painter's chair.' That picture was painted at Mount 
Vernon, and is in pojiesBion (I belieye) of the family of the late Judge 
Hopkinson, of liiiladelphia. The same year, Houdon, the eminent French 


sculptor, took hk model for the statue, now in the Capitol, at Ridimoiid. 
The original plastor oast, taken from the living face, is upon a bracket in 
the library at Mount Vernon, where I saw it a few months ago. 

"A miniature paintor named Bobertson (a Scotchman), obtained a 
sitting from the President and hia wife, in 1790. They were exquisitely 
painted on iyory. I was permitted to copy them in 1852. That of Mrs. 
Washington, I engrayed for the IMd Book, llie other was so unlike any 
portraits of Washington (being painted just before his artificial teeth were 
inserted), that after I had engraved it, I did not publish it Mr. Custis 
has a miniature of his grandmother, by the same artist, a copy of which is 
in the American Portrait Gallery. 

** The lato Ck>lonel Trumbull painted three full-length portraits of Wash- 
ington, from life. The first was painted for the Corporation of the CSty of 
New York, in 1792, and remains in the City HalL It represents Washing- 
ton in full uniform, standing by a whito horse, leaning his ann upon the 
saddle. In the background is a view of Broadway in ruins, with Fort 
George at the tormination ; and in the bay is seen the embarkation ci the 
British troops, who were about to leave our shores for ever. In 1792, the 
City of Charleston commissioned Trumbull to paint a fiill-length portrait. 
He represented the Chief at the moment when he resolved to retreat back 
into the country, from the banks of the frozen Delaware, during the night 
just at hand. The agent of the Charieston Council wanted a more matter^ 
of-fact picture. Tht artist procured another sitting, and Washington 
said to him, in reference to the firsts ''Ke^ this picture for youredf, Mr. 
Trumbull, and finish it to your own taste." The first picture was painted 
in New York; the last two in Philadelphia. Hie one kept by the artist is 
the property of Yale College, and is considered the best mUiiasy portrait 
of Washington, ever painted. TmmbuU ezceDed all others, in delineating 
his peculiar ,/^ruiv. 

** In 1798, Stuart painted, in Philadeli^ua, that head of Washington, 
which is regarded by all as the standard portrait of the first President It 
remained in the possession of the artist untQ his deatib, in 1828, when it 
was purchased from his widow by the Boston Atheneum. At about tiie 
same time, a portrait from life was painted for the Marquis of Lansdowne, 
oue of Washington's valued ooire^pondents. I do not remember by whom 
it was painted. 

** The last original picture of Washington, was made in 1796, by an 
exceedingly clever artist named Sharpless. It is a profile, outlined by a 
pantograph, and colored with crayons. It is (^ cabinet siie, and is pro- 
nounced by Mr. Custis, its possessor, to be the most /uthful likeness of the 
first President extant Mr. Custis also has, in marble bas-relief, a profile. 


life sue, by Houdon, wbich that artist executed in 1786, and presented to 
Washington. Sharpless obtained the profiles of many of the distingoished 
Americans of that day. Among them were those of Jefferson and Monroa 
These originals I recently found, in dingy frames, in the possession of a 
gallant soldier in the war of 1812, living at Hampton, near Old Point 
Comfort As I could not obtain either of them, by purchase, I made a 
careful copy of Jefferson's. I have also a copy of the crayon sketch of 
Washington, which is at your service if you desire it" 

An interesting account of the various portraits of Washington will be 
found in the Republican Court, by Dr. R. W. Gbdwold, New Yoric, 1866. 

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